Managing Your Money

College Life is Real Life. Almost.

Proper Financial Management
Many high school students don’t realize the overwhelming responsibilities that come with getting a college education. With newfound freedom must also come new skills for living more independently. Chief among them are skills for managing one’s finances properly. Explore the tips below to see what we mean:

Quick Tips:

  • Review your expenses periodically.
  • Balance your checkbook.
  • Maintain a record-keeping system.
  • Don’t borrow more in student loans than you need.
  • Buy used textbooks – the highlighted areas may even help you study.
  • Look for free entertainment on campus.
  • Rent movies or go to the matinee which is usually cheaper.

Spend based on “need” not on “want” (easier said than done!)

  • Eat in—learn to cook!
  • Wash your own car.
  • Use coupons.
  • Check out free campus events.
  • Shop around for the best telephone rates.
  • If you are upset, don’t go shopping.
  • Coordinate dorm room purchase with your roommate to avoid duplication. If you are living off-campus, consider roommates to share housing expenses such as utilities.

Watch those credit cards!

  • Use them only for emergencies.
  • Pay off the entire balance each and every month.
  • Allow 8-to-10 days for mailed payments to be posted to make sure you don’t incur a late fee. (2-3 days for electronic payments.)
  • Shop around for the best interest rate. (Department stores often have higher rates, and rates for cash advances are often higher than for purchases.)
  • Save receipts and check them carefully against your statement.
  • Memorize your PIN and do not share it with anyone.
  • If your credit cards are lost or stolen, immediately contact each creditor.
  • Notify creditors if you move.
  • Call your creditor if you are having trouble making your minimum payment.

Protect your identity.

Identity Theft is a very real and serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen may spend months or years and thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims of identity theft may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing or cars, and even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.

For more information, visit the following link: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

You may also wish to access the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, as a Mississippi Resident.

Keep a close eye on your credit.

What is a credit report?

A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills and whether you have been sued or arrested or filed for bankruptcy. A credit file disclosure also includes a record of everyone who has requested and received a consumer report about you from the consumer reporting company within a certain period of time.

How do I request my report?

The national credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) have established a Central Source through which you request the free report. There are three options to request your report through this Central Source. Free credit reports requested online are viewable immediately upon authentication of identity. Free credit reports requested by phone or mail will be processed within 15 days of receiving your request.


You can view and print your report online at, a secure Web site. You must enter your Social Security Number to receive a free credit report.

By Phone

Call 1.877.322.8228 – you will go through a simple verification process over the phone. Your report will be mailed to you.

By Mail

Download a request form to have your report sent by mail at Print out the form, complete and mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281


You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from them one at a time. You may wish to order your free credit reports from the companies at different times during the year so that you can monitor any changes.