As well they might - a recent study by EverFi found that only 39 percent of freshmen attending four-year colleges have an established budget. The survey also determined that the number of students who pay credit card bills on time, review bills for mistakes and only purchase things they need, has steadily decreased over the last three years.
"With the increasing cost of tuition, housing, text books, etc., it's become essential that college students have the knowledge and common-sense habits to successfully navigate the many expenses associated with completing an education," said Samantha Paxson, Chief Marketing Officer, CO-OP Financial Services, a financial technology provider to credit unions.
On behalf of its credit union clients, in 2014 CO-OP launched a campaign to empower younger consumers by providing financial education content, tips and tools, and also alert them to the range of financial services available through credit unions.
The CO-OP Credit Unions blog at www.co-opcreditunions.org is populated once or twice a week with short, entertaining and practical money management advice for Millennials. In addition, the corresponding Twitter feed and Facebook page offer even crisper advice on how to chart a financial future. The feed at https://twitter.com/innovatebanking has more than 134,000 followers, and the page at https://www.facebook.com/innovatebanking has nearly 22,000 "likes."
"Credit unions are the best financial institution option for all consumers, but especially young people, because survey after survey confirms their superior people service," said Paxson. "In addition, your local credit union is at least as competitive as any national bank through the type of services CO-OP provides - a surcharge-free ATM network and 'shared branches' that enable branch service to students wherever they may travel to go to school."
So from this storehouse of financial advice, what does CO-OP recommend to college students heading back to campus this fall? Paxson suggests the following:
Set priorities between wants and needs. Students may be tempted to purchase the latest version of the iPhone when it comes out instead of waiting until their free upgrade. By learning to make the distinction of where and when to spend, you can make your money last.
Know your cash flow. That dreaded word "budgeting" doesn't have to be a negative. Simply tracking how much money is coming in and out can help college students make more informed decisions. Maybe even have a few bucks left over for a concert.
Don't live in a bubble. Getting caught up in social activities is effortless, but it's just as easy to stay up-to-date on managing personal finances and receiving practical tips by checking in on personal finance blogs like the one offered on www.co-opcreditunions.org.
Look for freebies. Banks are charging numerous fees, but there is a more cost-effective alternative: the nation's 7,000 credit unions, to which one in three Americans is now a member. A local credit union can be easily found at www.asmarterchoice.org/. In addition, those surcharge-free CO-OP ATMs and CO-OP Shared Branch locations can be found at https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/.
For more personal finance wisdom, visit www.co-opcreditunions.org.
About CO-OP Financial Services
Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and founded in 1981, CO-OP Financial Services is a financial technology provider to the nation's credit unions. The company helps credit unions thrive by providing products and services that make it more convenient for members to do business with them. To learn more visit www.co-opfs.org.