Mapping Your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College
Manage Your Money

Live Within Your Means

When you “live within your means,” you can afford to pay for most things you need without borrowing money. You can buy clothing and food with cash instead of a credit card. You have enough money to pay basic living expenses, such as housing and transportation, without going into debt.

Now that you’re facing college expenses, you may be tempted to put tuition or books on a credit card, thinking you can pay off the balance next month. While college expenses can be high, try NOT to do this. If you can’t pay the bill in full when it’s due, you’ll owe interest in addition to the cost of the books or other items you purchased.

Also, try to avoid applying for the many credit cards you’ll be offered on campus. You’ll end up in debt and it will be difficult to get out of it. Some expense, such as buying a house or used car, are so big that you may need a loan to pay for them. But buying everyday items on credit limits your choices because you’re always paying for yesterday instead of moving toward tomorrow.

It can be challenging at first, but try to live within your means. Even better, try to live below your means so you can start saving.

Having trouble living within your means? Keep a Spending Diary



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