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Financial Aid Department

Financial Aid Services Center

Personal Financial Planning Tips

Do you have a plan for your money? In just about any media these days you can see that advertisers do! Following just a few practical financial planning steps will help you set a foundation for life-long sound financial fitness.

Where to start?

A good first step is to download the free booklet 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know written and prepared as a public service by the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®).

Here Are a Few Selected Tips From the Booklet to Get You Started

#31 Create A Budget
And Stick To It

Tip #31 in the free booklet 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know advises that one of the best ways to keep track of your money is to use a spending plan or budget. Budgeting is a helpful tool to avoid falling into too much consumer debt.

See our Budget Worksheet page to print out a worksheet, sharpen your pencil, and spend some time with your finances to set up your financial plan.

Want something more robust and web-based? Consider, a personal budgeting software application available on the web for free. is a free application offered by Intuit, the maker of Quicken and TurboTax.

#4 Protect Your
Personal Information

Make sure no one is using your identity to open unauthorized credit accounts. Check your credit history for free at Yes, you will be asked to provide your social security number -- that's OK. This site is a bona fide site. Watch out for other sites claiming to provide a free credit history for credit report. If they ask for a credit card number, you are at the wrong location for

There are three credit agencies -- TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax -- from which you can order your credit history. Stagger your order for each agency by four months so you are getting reports at different times of the year as you watch for unauthorized activity.

Take this step today! It is easy and it will get you on the path to personal financial planning.

#26 Separate Needs
From Wants

We have unlimited wants. What we really need is somewhat less! Consider each spending decision as an opportunity to ask yourself, "do I need this, or do I want this?" Cutting unnecessary spending on the wants can help you make sure you have the money for the needs.

Other Helpful Information

Has Your Debt become a Burden?

It is important to take positive steps fast to resolve debt problems that are getting out of control. If you have credit problems, seek help beginning with the Federal Trade Commission's Coping with Debt article. It includes information on self-help ideas, credit counseling, debt consolidation, and perhaps as a last resort, bankruptcy.

Consider your insurance needs.

Is renters insurance right for you? In some cases your personal items may be covered by your parent's home-owners insurance. Verify if this is the case for you. If your personal belongings are not otherwise covered, consider renters insurance. Students who have a laptop computer, a tablet, smartphone, flat screen TV, DSLR camera, or pricey outdoor equipment may stand to lose a lot from a disaster or theft. Speak with an insurance agent to get a price quote on renters insurance. Balance the price, out-of-pocket deductible, and coverage to determine whether it makes sense to get insurance coverage.

Living Off Campus?

The Campus Community Coalition has helpful information about Living Off Campus for you that you can bring into your personal financial planning process.

See our Personal Financial Planning and Debt Management web page for other more information on financial planning.