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MVNU business professors share their advice

As college students, we want to stretch our money as far as it can go.

But it’s not going to happen without some discipline and planning.

MVNU business and finance professors recommend that students start practicing good money management now.

“Money management is a discipline that is developed and practiced throughout a lifetime,” said Dr. Kelly Rush, associate professor of finance.

“Making wise stewardship decisions today will make it easier to make wise stewardship decisions tomorrow.”

With a few small adjustments to your routine, you could see a big difference in monthly spending and the balance of your savings account.

Rush has great tips for students on how to get started right away.

“Develop a budget. List your income and expenses ahead of time and track them over the course of a month,” she said. This will help you “live within your means.”

There are several free budget apps for your phone that make tracking money easy. Two examples are Dollarbird and Fudget, both of which are available for iOS and Android devices.

Little changes in your daily routine can add up, so look for small ways to save. Even savings that seem insignificant will add up over time, Rush said.

“Be creative about ways to save money,” she said. “Split the rent payment, carpool, learn to cook for yourself and stay in for game night rather than going out.”

Rush also advised students to partner with a friend or mentor and keep each other accountable — “someone who will encourage you to make wise money management decisions,” she said.

Of course, some spending just can’t be avoided. Still, there are plenty of ways to shop around and save money.

For instance, renting textbooks through Amazon will cost a fraction of the price of buying through the school bookstore. Walking or taking a bicycle will save you money for fuel, as well as car maintenance and repairs. Investing in a decent coffee pot (usually $15 to $40) will let you get your caffeine jolt at home, and a bag of coffee can be the same price as one specialty café treat.

It’s important to be realistic about your budget and financial lifestyle, said Dr. Melanie Spangler-Timmerman, dean of the School of Business.

“Don’t live based upon what you think your financial future will look like, but instead live based upon your current resources,” she advised.

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