Student's Guide to Money

A guide to help you become the master of your financial situation

hands holding wallet

What’s money got to do with your education (besides the obvious)?

You're here at PCC to make your life better, right? You've got goals, you've got dreams, and you've got the motivation to get to your happy place. Which is awesome … but here's the thing: no matter what degree you get, if you make careless decisions with your money while you’re in school, you're never going to get to your happy place. Money trouble is one of the biggest reasons students struggle in college. It’s hard to concentrate on course work when you are hungry, or you’re worried about being evicted!

It’s money skills, not just money, that makes you rich!

I'm sure you've known people who make a decent income but never seem to have a dime to their name. And have you also known people who have modest incomes but seem to be able to afford vacations when they want them, health care when they need it, and even have some left over to save? The difference between these two examples is that some people have money skills and others don't.

A good education + money skills = win

You already know that getting an education is your best chance of earning more money. But remember it's not just how much money you make, but what you do with it that counts. Your education and your money skills are going to work hand-in-hand to make you the successful person you want to be.

Financial Health Checkup

Just as a doctor uses your pulse as an indicator of your overall health, you can evaluate your financial behaviors as you enter college to help you understand your overall financial health.

I always know how much money I have in my checking account.

You rock! You know how to make and maintain a realistic budget!

At least you're honest! For more information on how to create and maintain a realistic budget, check out make a budget. You may want to start by tracking your spending.

My short and medium term financial goals support my long term financial goals.

You rock! You know how set realistic financial goals!

At least you're honest! You can turn your dreams into reality when you set financial goals.

I regularly track my spending on paper or use a spreadsheet.

You rock! Tracking your spending is a major part of taking control over your personal finances.

At least you're honest! Tracking your spending will help you make a budget that is realistic and keeps you out of financial ruin.

I know exactly how much money I need to cover groceries, bills and housing needs each month.

You rock! You know how to make and maintain a realistic budget!

At least you're honest! It takes practice to make a budget that works for you. Find a method that works with your life and try it for a couple of months!

I put at least a little bit of money into savings every month.

You rock! You know the importance of paying yourself first, and you're covered in a financial emergency!

At least you're honest! Learn why it's important to set up an emergency fund and spend less, save more.

I pay my credit cards off every month.

You rock! You can live within your budget!

At least you're honest! If you're going into debt, you need to start making a plan for getting out of debt.

I can easily find and access important financial documents.

You rock! You know what documents you need to keep, where to keep them and what to shred!

At least you're honest! Keeping a system for personal documents will help you cover your assets in the long-run!

I have adequate health insurance coverage.

You rock! In case of an emergency, you're protected from the financial ruin of not being insured!

At least you're honest! Health insurance can be expensive, but having the right health insurance will help you cover your assets in an emergency!

I know how to request my free credit report and do so each year.

You rock! You can easily see if there are any errors on your report or if someone is trying to co-op your identity!

At least you're honest! Looking at your credit report might seem scary, but it is the first step in getting out of debt and ensuring you are not a victim of identity theft!

I always pay my bills on time.

You rock! You can live within your budget!

At least you're honest! If you're going into debt, you need to start making a plan for getting out of debt, or even consider certified debt consolidation.

I know how much I have borrowed for student loans and what my repayment will be.

You rock! You have a realistic plan for going into debt!

At least you're honest! To avoid financial stress after school, you need to have a realistic plan for going into debt.

I know how much I should borrow and have a plan to keep my educational costs below that amount.

You rock! You know that your total school debt should never be more than what you will earn at the entry level of your career. Keeping under this amount means your repayment will be manageable!

At least you're honest! To avoid financial stress after school, you need to have a realistic plan for going into debt and have a plan to get out of debt.

I know how to set goals.

You rock! You know how to identify and prioritize your goals, identify your resources and make an action plan.

At least you're honest! Learning how to set financial goals will help you turn your dreams into realities!

I know what actions to take to maintain my high credit score or improve a lower score.

You rock! You know it's important to pay your bills on time, keep your non-school and home debt to under 25% of your income, check your credit report for errors and correct them.

At least you're honest! Understanding how your credit score is calculated will help you make a plan to keep an excellent score high and make a bad or fair score better.