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Managing Money in College: 6 Tips for Parents

Starting college is an exciting time. Your soon-to-be college student will make new friends, learn new things, and go new places.

They’ll also have new responsibilities, especially when it comes to money. As you help your child pack and prepare for this new adventure, make sure they have the skills and tools they need to manage their finances. Follow these tips to boost their college readiness:

  1. Make Sure They Have the Right Checking Account
    A good checking account should be at the top of your student’s college checklist. The right student account will have no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, plus easy access to no-fee ATMs.

    Dover Federal’s Free Kasasa Cash®; Checking account is a great option. It pays really high dividends with no minimum balance and refunds up to $25 in ATM fees per month – perfect for students who are away from home.

  2. Build a Budget
    Your college student needs to know how to make their money last. This means drawing a line between their needs (paying their phone bill) and their wants (ordering pizza). As their most important financial role model, you can help your child spend wisely by creating a budget for their time in school, one that covers all the necessities while leaving a little room to splurge on pizza now and then.

    Check out our P3 Financial Literacy Hub for helpful guides and budget tools to get you started.

  3. Keep Their Money Close
    Your student will have books to read and papers to write, but that shouldn’t keep them from staying on top of finances. Online and Mobile Banking provide a fast, simple way to view balances, deposit checks, and pay bills.

    It’s also a good idea to set up Account Alerts for their checking account. This provides instant notifications via text message or email so they can find out about low balances and avoid overdrafts.

    Protecting against theft and fraud is crucial. Your student can download the free CardValet® app for an easy way to control how their debit card is used and even turn the card “off” if it’s lost or stolen.

  4. Save on Essentials – and Nonessentials
    Higher education is pricey enough. Here are some ways your student can save:
    • Look for student discounts on computers, software, and other electronics, as well as restaurants, movie theaters, and attractions.
    • Make the most of the meal plan. Why order in when food is already paid for?
    • Save on textbooks. Students can rent textbooks, buy used copies, or borrow them (in print or electronic form) from the school or a public library.
    • Get a side hustle. On campus or off, a part-time job makes expenses more manageable and provides a little cash to do something fun.
    • Stock up. Discount stores and wholesale clubs provide big savings on dorm room essentials like snacks and school supplies.

  5. Give Them Some Credit
    Being smart with credit is a key aspect of financial independence, and college is a good time to start building credit. A secured credit card is a great first step. It provides a simpler, more secure alternative to cash and makes it easy to track spending.

    By using a credit card responsibly and paying bills on time, your student can eventually “graduate” from a deposit-backed card to a traditional one that offers more flexibility and purchasing power.

  6. Have Their Back
    Support your student by checking in periodically to make sure their finances are in good shape (and that they’re still eating their vegetables). Being on their own for the first time is a valuable opportunity to develop personal finance know-how and other life skills. Open communication and friendly guidance will help.

    If your student needs a hand from you, consider a joint checking account. Sharing ownership of the account makes it easy for you to monitor and fund the account as needed. Alternatively, you can easily move money from your Dover Federal checking account to your student’s account via person-to-person payments with Popmoney.

Making College AWESOME

Dover Federal is here to help students make the most of college – and their money. With 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs and 24/7 Online and Mobile Banking, our Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking or AWESOME Checking account has the features they need to go far. Apply online or connect with our friendly team today!

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