Illinois CPA Society Offers Money Talking Points For Parents, Students

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One of the most difficult subjects for people to tackle seems to be money. And why is that? Probably a host of reasons including pride, cultural prohibitions, societal expectations or something else. But, not talking about money can cause more problems than having an honest conversation, something parents and college bound students should have before the academic year begins next month.

100 dollarsTo that end, the Illinois CPA Society offers guidelines to help stimulate conversation about money related topics including the following six points:

Credit Card Law is Changing – But Not Yet. Freebies to lure students into getting credit cards may still be around this semester, but it will be more difficult for college students to get one when a new credit card law goes into effect in February 2010. So it might be a good idea to get one card now and use it responsibly to establish a credit history. Pay your bill every month on time to avoid finance charges and late fees.

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft. You have no BFF when it comes to passwords and accounts. Don’t ever share your log in information with ANYONE. Your new friend or someone you trust could take advantage of you; guard your personal data or you might not have anything left to protect.

Budget, Budget, Budget. The importance of having a budget and sticking to it can’t be stressed enough. It may seem boring, but it’s necessary to know your limitations. At the beginning of a semester, establish an amount to work with and identify the expenses that need to be deducted from that amount each month, things like cell phone service, clothes, food and entertainment.

Ask Questions. Whether it’s a part-time job offer or an apartment lease, chances are if it sounds too good to be true it is. Get the details in writing, read them well and don’t think you’ll look stupid for asking questions about things you don’t understand. Never sign anything without knowing what you’re obligated to pay.

Shop Smart. It pays to shop around especially on things as pricey as textbooks. Check out if they’re cheaper online, at an off-campus book store, or if you can rent them or buy them used. You can also save money by using your student discount at local businesses and taking advantage of what the dining hall has to offer instead of eating out. Save receipts too in case you drop a class and need to return the books or any other purchases.

Think Twice. Do you need cable, or can you watch TV programs on your laptop? Before you spend, always ask yourself if it’s something you really need or just want. Keep a similar thought in mind – do they really need to know – when you’re talking to people in person or online. Think twice about what you say and post. The internet is a very unforgiving place. Can your grandmother read your Facebook page? Prospective employers do check you out on social networking pages.

Source: Illinois CPA Society

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Categories: College Budgeting