Before heading of to college, young adults should have a basic understanding of money management. College may be the first time they will be responsible for managing money. Even is Mom and Dad are paying the bills, they will not be around to help make everyday spending decisions. Students can be tempted by credit card offers or feel peer pressure to spend more than their budget will allow. Overspending and poor use of credit while in college can have lasting effects on financial success after college.
Parents need to talk to their children to help them develop a plan for handling money and expenses once they get to college. Share these money tips to help get their college career on track financially:
• Encourage your child to establish a checking account. Local banks and credit unions may offer low cost or free student accounts and provide easy access to cashing checks, making deposits, or ATMs. Have your child set up text and e-mail alerts to notify when balances are low.
• Urge your son or daughter to avoid getting a credit card. Often college students (and parents) feel the need to get a credit card in case of emergencies. However, the credit card often becomes a temptation that leads to nonacademic spending.
• If your child has bills such as cable, internet, or other utilities stress the importance of paying on time. Help your child set up on-line banking or automatic bill pay reminders to make bill paying simpler.
• Help your child establish a spending plan. If your child receives a lump sum of money at the beginning of the semester from scholarships or student loans, help them develop a plan to stretch the money throughout the semester. One of the best ways to develop a spending plan is to track expenses during the first few weeks of school. After the first month, review where and how money is spent.
• Remind your child about the difference between wants and needs. Help them prioritize spending based on “needs”, such as tuition, room, board, and books, before spending money on wants.
Protecting the health of your college student is very important. The dorm is a closed environment and sicknesses spread very quickly among residents. One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of illness is to teach your child about the basics of cleanliness when living in the dorm.
• Kids need to understand that if the shower is now black or all the kids in the dorm have athlete’s foot, it is past time to clean and disinfect. Once clean, they can keep the shower clean by spraying the shower walls while damp and wiping them after each use.
• Students should clean their floors daily with a broom, wet mop, or microfiber mop to keep hair, dust, and crumbs (and bugs) under control.
• Wipe out the microwave oven and refrigerator immediately if there is a spill.
• They should wash dishes (cups and silverware, too) after eating.
• Dirt, oil, or germs from hands can mark up cell phones and laptop or tablet screens. Students should wipe them at least daily and wash their hands before using to minimize the grime.
• Students can help prevent the spread of MRSA at school by using a clean towel between their skin and exercise equipment and wiping down the equipment they touch with a disinfectant wipe.
• You teach your child to share, but when it comes to razors, sports gear, and other personal items, it’s better for their health to be selfish.
• Students should also become familiar with the laundry room. Cleaning sheets, towels, and clothes regularly will go a long way in keeping them healthy.
Good eating habits also contribute to staying healthy in college. Some healthy eating tips are:
• Eat a good breakfast. Studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. When there isn’t time to sit down and enjoy the morning meal, your student can grab a bagel, piece of fruit and some juice. Most of these items can be easily stored in a dorm room.
• Keeping healthful snacks on hand can help your student avoid the temptation of vending machine candy, chips or ice cream when hunger strikes during late-night study sessions. Possibilities include fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes or whole-wheat crackers. If they have a refrigerator, consider raw vegetables with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese dip.
• The dining-hall salad bar can be either an asset or a detriment to your student’s diet depending on what they choose from it. Of course, leafy greens, raw vegetable and fresh fruit are beneficial, but choosing a lot of creamy dressing, bacon bits and mayonnaise-based salads, the calories and fat may equal or even exceed those of a burger and fries.
• Your student needs to drink lots of water. The body needs at least eight glasses a day, and if they exercise vigorously, they may need more. Remind your student to carry a water bottle along to class and keep it handy during late night study sessions.
The recipes that follow are healthy dorm friendly snack ideas.
For more information contact Cecelia Hostilo at the Trigg County Extension Office by calling 522-3269. Information for the article was obtained from the August, 2012 MoneyWi$e newsletter written by Jennifer Hunter, Ph.D., UK Extension Service; the August, 2012 newsletter written and distributed by the American Cleaning Institute; The Daily of the University of Washington.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
After School Hummus
1 can (15-ounce) reduced-sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
11⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Use a blender or food processor. Combine garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, oil, and pepper. Blend on low speed until the beans are mashed. Stir in yogurt with spoon. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight so the flavors blend. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies.
Yield: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 70 calories; 2.5 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 105 mg sodium; 10 g total carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 3 g protein; 2% Daily Value of vitamin A; 2% Daily Value of vitamin C; 4% Daily Value of calcium; 4% Daily Value of iron
Fruitastic Summer Smoothie
1⁄2 cup frozen berries
1 (6-ounce) container strawberry yogurt
Blend all ingredients well in blender. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 190 calories; 1.5 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium; 41 g total carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 30 g sugar; 4 g protein; 2% Daily Value of vitamin A’ 110% Daily Value of vitamin C; 15% Daily Value of calcium; 2% Daily Value of iron
Fish Out of Water Snack Mix
6 cups air-popped popcorn OR toasted oat cereal
3 cups cheese-flavored fish-shaped crackers
1 cup raisins
1 cup peanuts
1 cup candy-coated chocolate candies
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Pack individual serving sizes in zip-top bags.
Yield: 12 (1 cup servings)
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 282 calories; 1.6 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 223 mg sodium; 36 g total carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 2.5 g protein; 3% Daily Value of vitamin C