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University of Minnesota Extension

From college student to self-sufficient adult

How can you help your college student learn to make better financial choices? Here are five parenting strategies that make a difference:

  • Set clear expectations about managing everyday expenses. Write a budget with your student for routine expenses like meals and personal care items. Review the budget from time to time and adjust as necessary.
  • Be proactive in discussing financial choices. Talk about dealing with problems and preventing future ones.
  • Keep mistakes from becoming poor financial habits. Overdraft fees, late fees on bills, and uncashed checks are some examples of poor financial choices. Make these incidents teachable moments, rather than sources of conflict.
  • Engage your student in ongoing conversations about financial topics. Habits developed now can make the difference in whether someone thrives or struggles after college.
  • Encourage your student to gather information from many sources. Students today have access to a lot of online information. But they need to talk with people they trust in person, too.

You don’t have to be a financial expert to help your student make responsible decisions about money. Just tell your child about the basic principles of sound money management. And help him or her practice those principles. What you do now will have a lasting effect.

Joyce Serido, Extension specialist and associate professor, Department of Family Social Science


Reviewed in 2021

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