It’s no secret that financial decisions are stressful. The decisions made in college can affect students well after graduation. The resources found here can help you learn how to budget, save, find part-time employment, estimate future income and loan repayment, and prepare for finances post-graduation.
Transit Financial Wellness is a personal financial education course to help students learn how to make informed financial decisions. Every student can access Transit using their WVU Login clicking here.
Budgeting is key when it comes to managing your finances. There are some great apps available which can help you budget. Below are some tips and budget calculators:
- Determine how much money you have coming in (income)
- Estimate how much money is going out (expenses)
- Track your expenses for 3 to 4 months to get averages of how much you are spending on:
- Rent or Mortgage
- Cell Phone
- Dining Out (including fast food and coffee shops)
- Entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.)
- Medical Expenses
- Holidays & Gifts
Are you living within your means? Are you spending less than or equal to the amount of money you have coming in each month?
If you are not living within your means, you are most likely borrowing from the next month’s budget or going into debt. Either way, you are borrowing from your future. Keep scrolling down this page for savings opportunities that may help.
- Rent or borrow textbooks or e-books instead of purchasing.
- Consider taking extra classes each semester to graduate earlier.
- If you live on campus, use your meal plan instead of dining out. You’ve already paid for those meals!
- Shop at discount food stores. Some of them have fantastic produce!
- Make a list before you go shopping of things you need... and stick to it.
- Use coupons. There are a plethora of coupon apps available.
- Do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry.
- Review your billing statements to make sure you are not charged unnecessary fees.
- Call to negotiate rates – for your cable, internet, interest rates on credit cards, etc. The worst they can do is say no.
- Search for cheaper rates through other providers (cell phone, cable, etc.)
- Consider using online television and video services instead of expensive cable packages.
- Look for cheap (or FREE) entertainment.
- Consider dinners where friends bring food instead of going out to eat. Anyone up for a game night?
- Always ask if you can get a discount with your student ID.
- Use public transportation such as Mountain Line or the PRT. It’s free for students, so you’ll save money on gas for your car, parking, and wear and tear on your vehicle.
- Don’t compare your spending and finances with your friends. You don’t know where their money is coming from. They could have family or friends helping with their expenses. They could be charging up a lot of debt. Focus on your finances and what you know you can afford.
- Use the 30 Day Rule. If you want something – but don’t need it – take a step back for 30 days. This gives you time to think about whether or not you should purchase it and if the value it adds to your life is worth the price. It also gives you time to search for a better deal.
- Know the time value of your money. How long do you have to work to earn the money to purchase that item? Or are you borrowing from your future income to purchase it (i.e. debt)? Is it worth it?
- Consider going cash only. It’s easy to swipe a debit or credit card… too easy. Studies show people spend 12% to 18% less by using cash instead of cards.
Seek out as many scholarships as possible. Unfortunately they won’t come find you!
Earn money now by exploring part-time employment opportunities and future careers.
- Find a job now with the help of Student Employment
- Use the extensive resources available with Career Services to explore future careers
- Research what your future salary may be
Know how much you have borrowed in student loans, how much interest is accruing, and how to contact your loan servicers.
- Federal Loans: www.nslds.ed.gov
- Institutional Loans: https://borrower.ecsi.net
- Private Loans: If you’re not sure who your lender is, it should be listed on your Annual Credit Report at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Borrow only what you need.
- Return any portion of a student loan refund you do not need.
- You are not required to take every loan you’re offered or the entire amount.
- If you’re offered a subsidized loan – such as the Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Perkins, or Institutional Loans – take what you need from it first.
- Research before borrowing from private lenders.
Example: What is an extra $2,000 per year in an unsubsidized student loan? It could end up costing you an additional $3,250 in interest if you select a Standard repayment plan and it takes you 10 years (120 months) to pay off the loan. If you select a plan in which it takes 20 years (240 months) to pay off the loan, you end up with an additional $5,820 in interest. You could have been saving that money for a future house or car instead!
- Repay and Save: Use this calculator to see how much you could save by paying back portions of your student loan refund
- In-School Interest Calculator for Undergraduate Students: Use this calculator to determine how much interest is accruing while you are enrolled (as an undergraduate student)
- In-School Interest Calculator for Graduate or Professional Students: Use this calculator to determine how much interest is accruing while you are enrolled (as a graduate/professional student)
- Student loan repayment calculator: Use this calculator to estimate your future loan monthly payment and possible repayment options
Disclaimer: These calculators are provided only as general planning tools. Results depend on many factors, including the assumptions you provide.