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3 money-saving tips every college freshman should know


Last updated 8/26/2021 at 12:05pm

From TopCashBack

Every fall, freshmen begin their college journey in the U.S. and, each year, it becomes more and more expensive to be a college student.

According to a recent survey from, 83%t of people wished they knew more about personal finance when they were younger and/or graduated college.

The survey polled a cross-section of 1,823 adults, aged 18 and over.

Here are three tips to help you prepare for your financial future from Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at

1. Begin building credit. Once you turn 18, you’re able to open your first credit card account to start building credit. Do research on different, available rewards programs as some cater directly to students. Try to find a card that best fits your interests (ex: travel, dining, shopping, etc.) so you can earn rewards and/or cash back on items that you know you will be buying.

When it comes to credit cards, you should always spend within your budget and pay it off immediately to avoid going into debt. This will help raise your credit score, which is essential for post-college purchases such as buying a home, purchasing a car and more.

And even if you don’t use the credit card, the duration of your credit history will benefit your credit score in the long run. Pro-tip: If you’re still under 18 when you start college, you can become an authorized user under a parent’s credit card account.

2. Sign up for all the deals. Students can take advantage of lots of discounts during their time in college. Get in the habit of searching for the best deals by signing up for a cash back site, like, to score a percentage of your money back on all qualifying purchases – at no cost to you.

If you’re a loyal shopper at a particular store, be sure to sign up for their newsletter and/or rewards program to be in the know about upcoming sales, coupons and more. And by installing the TopCashback Browser Extension, you’ll be notified whenever you’re on a site offering cash back so you can apply relevant savings to your purchase.

Pro-tip: Keep an eye out for referral links from stores with loyalty programs. Tell your friends to sign up using your link and, depending on the program, you and your friend could earn money off a purchase or direct cash back.

3. Save for the future. Venturing out into the “real world” can be exciting, but it’s important to be responsible with your income. Even if it’s from working at the local coffee shop or walking dogs, always consider saving at least a portion of your income each month.

No matter how big or small the amount is, consistency is key. If you receive cash tips, for example, stash them away as an emergency fund. By being diligent about saving, you can eliminate any future financial stress from having to pay off student loans or if something unexpected happens that you need money for.


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