Handling Student Finances

Heading off to college this fall?  Perhaps you’re sending someone off to college this fall?  Wondering just how to handle money while you’re in school?

Regardless of whether you’re the one heading off to school or you’re the one sending someone off to school, making sure that the money you need is there when you need it is very important!  And I’m not talking about tuition, fees, room and board, etc…. I’m talking about the money that you (or your child) will need on a day to day basis.

Fortunately, there are several ways to handle long distance finances:

1. Give your student a credit card with a reasonably low limit (say $500.00), and then allow him or her to use the card to pay for day to day expenses, emergencies, etc., that arise.  Of course, if you choose this route, make sure that you sit down and agree on what the card is to be used for, who will pay for what, etc.

2. Give your student a prepaid card with a set amount of funds available to use for day to day expenses.  Once again, sit down and talk about what “day to day expenses” entails and who will replace funds are they are depleted.

3. Send your student away to school with a debit card that’s attached to his/her bank account.  (I personally do not like this option because it’s too easy for the card to be lost, stolen, or simply for him/her to overspend.)

Whatever way you choose, be sure that you both agree up front about the way those funds will be used, who will pay for what, and so forth…otherwise, college may be far more expensive that you thought!