Student Service Center

Basics

As you learn how to manage your finances, follow these simple tips:

  1. Pay yourself first. Try to put away at least 10 percent of your pre-tax income into a savings account.
  2. Spend less than you earn. While this seems obvious, Americans are notorious for doing just the opposite. Stop spending and start saving.
  3. Pay your bills on time. Avoid needless late fees and know how much money you actually have.
  4. Avoid debt to the greatest possible extent. Student loans and mortgages can be "good debt," but even then, make paying them off a priority.
  5. Set a budget. And live by it. Use a computer program, a financial tracking website, or just a paper and pencil—whatever works for you.
  6. Set concrete goals. Know when you want to buy a new car or a new home, when you want to retire, and how much you expect each goal to cost.
  7. Have an emergency fund. Have at least three months' income in a high-yield savings account that can be easily accessed.
Money Matters

Learn how to manage your money.