Class is in Session: Get Your Back-to-College Financials in Order

Ohio colleges and universities are in full swing, which means many families are exploring the expensive nature of higher education and developing a financial plan to ensure their student's success. Between the books, tuition and other college-related necessities, students are having to learn to make smart financial decisions while on their own. That's why we've gathered our top recommendations to help you make the most out of your financial situation during college.

First things first, if you don't already have a savings account, we recommend you make that a priority at the beginning of the school year. For many students, getting an on-campus job that is flexible with their class schedule is a must, and the worst thing you can do is put every paycheck into your checking account without any sort of savings plan. While it's okay to allow yourself some spending money, putting a percentage into a savings account will ensure that you have the funds you need for necessities like tuition and books.

The next tip we highly suggest is to start building a credit score. We all know how tricky credit cards can be, but if you are responsible and disciplined, then a credit card could be tremendously helpful to help you pay for big purchases upfront without completely depleting your checking and savings accounts. There are tons of credit cards out there, so do your research or consult a trusted financial advisor to find one that best fits your lifestyle. Note: Another great advantage of having a credit card in college is once you've graduated, you will have built a good credit score that can help you qualify for a new car, apartment, house, etc.

The last tip goes hand-in-hand with the first two, which is to create a budget. We've all heard how important it is to budget, but does anyone really know where to start? Here is a list of great budget tracking apps that can help you see exactly what you are spending your paychecks on.

Why would you need to know that? The answer is simple - to make smarter spending habits and save more money. For example, if you're tracking your spending, you might see that you've spent $200 on eating out at restaurants last month. This month, you'd like to save more money, so you decide to eat at the dining hall and only allot $50 to eating out. Now, you know that you have saved an extra $150. In the end, you've exercised smart money habits by being aware of your spending and saved more money.

If you're ready to track your spending, reach your savings goals and build your credit, Telhio Credit Union can help set you up for financial success. Get started at