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College Student Bank Accounts

Isaac Said:

PLEASE HELP INEXPERIENCED COLLEGE STUDENT WITH BANKING. HAVING MULTlPLE BANK ACCOUNTS = GOOD IDEA OR BAD IDEA?

We Answered:

Sounds like you probably don't have a significant amount of money. Don't close your Washington Mutual account. You should probably open an account with one of the large banks near where you go to school. If you put that down here, I could tell you a good bank to use, as I am sure many others could as well. Without a significant amount of money, I don't see a reason why you should get an account at multiple institutions. Especially since you are new to banking and finances.

I personally have accounts at multiple institutions, but for different purposes, and some are investing based, some are because I have credit cards with them, and I want to be able to do immediate transfers, etc...

If you are new to this, get used to it, as if you open accounts at too many institutions, you will feel overwhelmed.

By the way, WAMU may be bought out soon, so you may end up getting lucky, and have the account you open at school be with the same bank that buys WAMU out, but don't worry about that.

I recommend just use two banks now. I would recommend also opening up a savings account at one of the institutions if you have not already done so. Make sure it is free though, otherwise you will be losing money, not earning from interest.

If you have any more questions, just email me.

Adrian Said:

how much money should college students have in their bank accounts?

We Answered:

A college student is supposed to be poor so any amount of money is impressive. Ideally, you should have enough to get by on two months-rent, gas, food, any extras. For most people this is about 3,000.

Lisa Said:

What is the average amount of money that an average college student might have in his bank account?

We Answered:

I personally have about $1,500 in savings and about $800 in checking.

but...

The cost of your college education depends on many choices you make, including whether you attend a public or private school, an in-state or out-of-state school, the school’s location, and whether you decide to live at home, off campus, or in the dorms. These decisions, plus many less obvious but no less critical ones, will determine how much you end up paying for your degree and how much debt you’ll have to deal with after you graduate.


More and more college students are getting into serious debt that has little to do with their education and much to do with the lifestyle they choose while in college, and their use of credit cards and student loan money to pay for basic expenses, entertainment, and discretionary items. Taking advantage of every opportunity to earn or save money—from working summers or part-time while attending classes, to saving windfalls like cash gifts and income tax refunds—can make a significant dent in the amount of money you have to borrow. Every dollar you don’t have to borrow is a dollar you don’t have to repay and pay interest on.

How you handle money impacts every area of your life, including your personal relationships, so controlling your finances will empower you in other areas of your life as well. Just as you delayed gratification in high school in order to study hard enough to get the grades that got you into college, now is the time to fight the temptation to carelessly spend your earnings, savings, scholarships, and student loan money. Before you know it, your four years of college will be over, and you’ll be living with the accumulated consequences of every financial decision you made in college.

The problems that loom largest over your financial future are credit card debt and student loan debt. While student loans can be “good” debt because they’re an investment in your future, if you don’t control your spending carefully, that “good” debt turns into ugly debt that will feel like a heavy anchor you have to hold onto for many years.

Studies show that the average high school graduate lacks fundamental money management skills and a basic understanding of how credit and money work. It’s up to you to take your future in your own hands and teach yourself the skills necessary to prevent you from stumbling through your financial life through trial and error. The more you educate yourself about the cost of your choices, large and small, the more control you’ll have over the cost of your education, and the more you’ll be able to enjoy your new career after graduation. Consider your education in personal finance every bit as critical to your future success as the core classes required for your major.

Take responsibility for your financial future by using as many of the thousand money-saving tips in this book as possible, and you’ll be able to truly enjoy the excitement and sense of accomplishment you’ve earned when you graduate with manageable debt and no regrets.

Working part-time while you’re in school can mean the difference between living like a pauper or enjoying some of the creature comforts your parents provided for you while you were living at home. Whether you work summers only, part-time on or off campus during the school year, or you decide to be your own boss, these moneymaking tips will help you get started.

1. Check into work-study programs at your school. You may be able to find paid work, like an internship, that also counts towards academic credit. The hours for on-campus work-study are usually more flexible than for an off-campus job, which will allow you time for classes and studying.

2. The early bird gets the worm (or in this case, the work) when it comes to applying for on-campus work-study jobs. The best jobs get taken quickly, so apply as soon as you arrive on campus.

3. Landing a part-time job in the student bookstore can score you a hefty discount on your textbooks. If your school offers a 25 percent discount and the average cost of books for the school year is $1,200, you could save $300 per year on books by taking advantage of the employee discount.

4. Check into becoming a student assistant to one of your professors. You can earn extra cash while gaining valuable experience in your field.

5. Get a part-time job at a restaurant that provides free staff meals while you’re on duty. You’ll save a bundle on food. This will only work well if you like the type of food the restaurant serves. For health reasons (and your waistline), it’s probably best if it’s not a fast-food joint.

6. One of the easiest ways to make extra cash is to tutor a fellow classmate in one of your best subjects. Just because calculus or French is easy for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone else. Tutoring allows you to choose your own work hours and earn a decent hourly rate.

7. During the holidays, offer gift-wrapping services to local stores, fellow students, or neighbors. Post notices around campus, at grocery store bulletin boards, and other public places. Some smaller stores may allow you to set up a table in the store and wrap presents for customers after they finish shopping.

8. Sign up to be a mystery shopper. Many retailers and restaurants hire college students to pose as customers and observe employee behavior, then report back on the quality of the service. Getting paid to eat or shop: can it get any better?

9. Start your own pet-sitting service. Pet-sit for neighbors on vacation or walk dogs while people are at work. In many cities, vacationers or traveling businesspeople pay $10 or more per visit for someone to come into their home to feed and walk their pet.

10. Offer shopping services for busy adults. Learn how to find the best prices online by using some of the price comparison search engines like www.pricegrabber.com. For a flat fee or a percentage of the savings, do the legwork for your customers.

11. Clean houses or other students’ dorm rooms. Post notices on the bulletin boards of local grocery stores and around campus to find customers. Many businesses also hire college students to clean offices at night.

12. Come up with creative ways to earn money by assessing the needs you see on campus. Is the nearest grocery store a fifteen-minute walk away? Start an affordable delivery service so students who live on campus don’t have to lug heavy groceries back to the dorm. Use your imagination and your powers of observation to come up with other ideas.

13. If you’re Web savvy and capable of setting up a website that can attract significant traffic, you can make money with affiliate programs. Sign up with sites like Amazon.com, AllPosters.com, or businesses related to your website topic. You’ll earn a commission every time someone makes a purchase after clicking on an affiliate’s link on your site.

14. Volunteer for experiments conducted by your college’s psychology department. You’ll be paid by the hour or earn a flat fee for each experiment. It’s a good way to earn extra cash without a long-term commitment.

15. Returning recyclable bottles and cans may seem like a pain in the neck, but the deposit fees can add up. It goes without saying that you should turn in your own recyclables, but you can also offer to dispose of your dormmates’ empties and collect the empties after parties in exchange for the bottle deposits. Stash the cash away for an emergency or for an occasional splurge on something you otherwise wouldn’t justify spending money on.

16. Instead of spending the money from birthdays, Christmas and other holidays, work bonuses, tax refunds, and other cash windfalls, save it in your college bank account. It will reduce the amount you need to borrow to get through college and lower your interest expenses.

17. You may have unclaimed money waiting for you to stake a claim. It could be unused gift certificates, life insurance left to you, a balance in a forgotten bank account, refund owed you, or other funds being held for you. Contact the Unclaimed Property Administrator in your state government or search online at www.uphlc.org (if your state provides information online).

18. Sign up to critique ads online for www.brandport.com. You’ll be paid for each ad you watch ancd answer questions about. Depending on how fast you can do it and how many you do, you could earn up to $30 in an hour.

19. If you have a big-ticket item to sell, like computer or exercise equipment, try selling it with a classified ad in a newspaper or online. You’ll probably get more for it than you would at a yard sale.

20. Many college students shope at consignment stores, so when you tire of your clothes, don’t leave them hanging in your closet, throw them out, or give them away. Place them in a consignment shop and when they sell, the shop owner will pay you a percentage of the sale.

21. Tell your parents about www.upromise.com, where they can register their credit and debit cards and earn money back on purchases they make with their cards. The amounts, which can be used for college expenses, are small, but every little bit helps.

Kimberly Said:

How much should a college student keep in their bank account?

We Answered:

It really depends on what bills you have. After rent and all your bills, $200.00 a month should get you by on food, IF you cook for yourself. Another $200.00 a month for going out and buying things you need, and an extra $100 a month for emergencies. So after all your bills are paid $500 a month for food and other expenses should work. As far as savings, try to put away 10% of everything you make into your savings account, it doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot harder to do than it sounds. Good luck!

Kathy Said:

I am a college student. When I open a bank account should I give my dorm address or home address?

We Answered:

Another reason for home address is so it matches address on driver's license or state ID. Also, you never know when school housing dept could make you change dorms.

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