This site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, gather site analytics and activity, track shopping cart contents, and deliver relevant marketing information.
View our privacy policy and manage your settings here. By using our site you agree to these terms.
For Immediate Release
August 17, 2017
ABA Media Contact: Mike Townsend
(202) 663-5471
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankers

10 Money Mistakes College Freshmen May Soon Regret


​WASHINGTON — As college freshmen begin arriving on campuses across the country, the American Bankers Association Foundation is highlighting common money mistakes many of their predecessors wish they had avoided.
“Most college freshmen are getting a taste of economic freedom for the first time, and they may not realize that small expenses can add up really quickly,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “It helps to approach your finances like a part of your course load. Draft a budget, study it and establish a lifestyle that will set you up for financial success.” 
To help college freshmen start out on strong financial footing, the ABA Foundation suggests avoiding these common money blunders:
  • Not creating a budget.  You’re an adult now and are responsible for managing your own finances. The first step is to create a realistic budget and plan to stick to it.

  • Losing track of expenses. Keep receipts and track spending in a notebook or mobile app. Know where your money is going and pace spending so that your money can last throughout the semester.

  • Living beyond your means. Limit your “hanging out” fund. There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy in college and many are free for students. Get the most from your student ID. Maximize your meal plan instead of eating out.

  • Abusing your credit card (and your parents’ trust). Anyone under 21 is likely an authorized user on their parents’ card, so congratulations on earning your parents’ trust. Don’t ruin that trust – and your parents’ credit score – by spending way over budget or not making payments on time. 

  • Not saving for emergencies. Have a financial plan for the unexpected. Things happen, and it's important that you are financially prepared when your car breaks down or your smartphone goes for a swim in the toilet.

  • Not finding a bank that works for you. Don’t get stuck paying fees if you don’t have to. It’s easy to find a bank that offers free checking and saving accounts that are great for college students. Also consider whether or not a bank has convenient ATMs near campus or if they’ll reimburse you for out-of-network ATM fees.

  • Not maximizing your bank’s technology. Most banks offer online, mobile and text banking tools to manage your account night and day. Use these tools to check balances, make payments, deposit checks, set up alerts and monitor transaction history.  

  • Overlooking ‘free’ money with your student ID.  A lot of retailers and businesses offer significant discounts for students. Always carry your student ID and make it a habit to ask if there is a student discount before making a purchase.

  • Buying everything new.  Consider buying used books or ordering them online. Buying books can become expensive and used books are just as good as new ones.

  • Being afraid to ask questions. This is a learning experience, so if you need help, ask. Your parents or your bank are a good place to start, and remember—the sooner the better.
About ABA
The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $17 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $13 trillion in deposits and extend more than $9 trillion in loans.
About the ABA Foundation
Through its leadership, partnerships, and national programs, ABA’s Community Engagement Foundation (dba ABA Foundation), a 501(c)3, helps bankers provide financial education to individuals at every age, elevate issues around affordable housing and community development, and achieve corporate social responsibility objectives to improve the well-being of their customers and their communities.
# # #