Financial Difficulties: Managing the Money You Have

  • Make a budget including all the sources of income you have for sure (not the ones you might get) and all the bills you will have to pay. Use a personal budget calculator to help control spending.
  • Pay attention to semester bill due dates. Paying your bill late will cost you more due to late fees and can interfere with your registration. Penn State offers a payment plan that can help you to stretch payments rather than having to pay in one lump sum.
  • When you consider buying something, ask yourself whether you really need it or if it's something you can live without at least for a while.
  • Avoid using credit cards. Pay cash, and purchase only what you can afford. Credit is nothing more than a high-interest loan. If you charge $2,000 on a credit card at 18.5% annual percentage rate (APR) and make the minimum monthly payment, it will take eleven years to pay off, and you will pay $1,900 on top of the original $2,000. That $2,000 loan will cost you $3,900!
  • If you feel that you must have a credit card, have only one and use it for emergencies only. If you do use your card, pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges.
  • Learn about the tax breaks for students including the deduction of student loan interest.
  • For more ideas on managing the money you have, check out Tips on Saving Money.