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    Careful with That Cash!

    How can you make the most of your money?

    Amanda Molina - sophomore

    college students talk about managing money in collegeAlong with the major cost of paying for college, you'll also have those day-to-day expenses of just living on campus. How can you make the most of your money? That's what we asked students from San Diego's Point Loma Nazarene University.

    I grew up in Yucca Valley—a desert area that's far away from any mall. When I got to college, there were malls everywhere! It was so tempting, and I couldn't resist the temptation. I'd go shopping, go to the movies, go out to nice places to eat. One day I spent $200 at the mall and felt so guilty! I realized I just couldn't go through money like that. Even when you have extra money for fun stuff, don't spend it just because you've got it. Spend a little less on a trip to the mall and you'll have a little extra money for something later.

    Andrea St. Andrew - junior

    When I got to college, I watched a couple of my friends go into debt because they used credit cards. They'd go shopping all the time and eat out a lot. And they were having a lot of fun. But before they knew it, they had enormous credit card bills—and they're still struggling to pay a huge debt. I think I was smart enough to learn from their mistakes. I've just made the choice to stay away from credit cards.

    Matt Cater - junior

    I'm kind of an impulsive guy, and sometimes that really hurts me financially. Like the time I decided I needed two surfboards instead of one. And it kind of made sense at the time. After all, for different kinds of waves, you need different kinds of boards. And I did get a really good deal! But the fact is, I didn't need two boards.

    Kito Bryant - senior

    I think you really have to watch those areas where you are most vulnerable. Whatever that area is. For me, it's surfing! Just don't let your wants get in in the way of your needs.

    Ever since my freshman year, I have been involved with my school's work-study program. I haven't minded working, and it's really helped out with my expenses. I've also learned a lot from my jobs. But I have to be careful. While I want to be able to pay my bills and have some spending money, I don't want my studies to suffer because I'm working too much. You just need a good balance.

    Rachel Kondo - junior

    confessions about money from college studentsIt's kind of embarrassing to say, but when I started college I didn't even know how to balance a checkbook! I also didn't think about living on any kind of budget. I was definitely headed for trouble. Before things got out of hand, my parents, who knew my spending habits, told me I needed to make some changes. They were so right.

    Jonathan Gardner - senior

    I learned how to balance my checkbook and I put myself on a budget. I also stopped just tossing my bills and receipts on my desk. I now have a place where I keep them in a neat and orderly stack. That way, I won't lose or misplace anything.

    One of the best things I did early on in college was take a general math course titled "Problem Solving." It was all about learning how to handle money. We'd look down the road five years and talk about what our budget might look like. It gave me a realistic picture of what my future will be like. It was great because it made me more aware of my need to develop good spending and saving habits right now. It doesn't mean I can't have any fun. It does mean I need to be smart about how I spend what I have.

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