By Matt Starkey

One subject every student should master before heading off to college is how to manage his or her personal finances. Many students simply “spend as they go.” Unfortunately, overspending can easily become the rule, rather than the exception.

An average college or university student spends well over $2,000 per year for books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.  This can add up to a substantial sum over the course of an entire higher education. Here are some ways you can help your college-bound son or daughter develop critical money management skills early.

Before School Begins

Sit down and have an open discussion of financial expectations before your son or daughter heads off to college. Allocate a lump sum for each semester and be clear about how long the money must last. Explain when the funds will be available, how much to expect, and any rules governing the use of the money.

At School

Transferring money all over the globe is easier than ever.  However, for practice, encourage your son or daughter to open a local account as soon as he or she arrives at school. Make sure he or she understands how to balance the account and make routine monthly adjustments.

Many parents find a credit card can provide a good financial back-up for their student, especially for emergencies. Be careful here!  The idea is to cultivate good spending habits and a credit card could make spending too easy.

Ideally, your college student should be able to be responsible for an entire semester’s spending. However, if the first semester seems premature, put it off until the second term. Life can become much easier when your college-age children learn to manage their own finances—and boost their life skills. For tips on how to start difficult money conversations, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Matt Starkey –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: NazarethCollege / Foter / CC BY