8 Personal Banking Tips

One very important aspect of being a student is handling your finances. You can find help on campus with Bears for Financial Success. Here are some other tips, courtesy of Bank of the West, the official bank of UC Berkeley:

  1. Establish a budget. You need to understand your expenses and income in order to manage your money.
  2. Set guidelines for yourself, such as distinguishing “needs” from “wants.” If your expenses exceed your income, you may need to make choices to avoid a financial difficulty. 
  3. Make sure you have access to a local bank. Once you arrive on campus or begin the term, you will want the convenience and ease of managing your money locally. As the official bank of UC Berkeley, Bank of the West offers sixteen ATMs on or around campus and on-campus staff who work with our students. While you are not obligated to work with them, Bank of the West offers accounts specifically for UC Berkeley students with no monthly service charges and other advantages. 
  4. Open a savings account and put a little money in each month, even if only ten dollars. You never know when you’ll need it, and this practice will help you establish good financial habits. Most banks offer auto transfers from a checking to a savings account.
  5. Review your checking account balance daily. This will allow you to assess how much money you have available, and it’s easy to do via mobile app. You may also detect potential fraudulent activity right away and take precautions.
  6. Choose credit cards carefully. Don’t sign up for the first credit card offer. Research as many credit cards as possible and sign up for one that offers you the best interest rate and/or perks, such as travel credit or cash back rewards. 
  7. Pay bills before they are due. Late fees can be a costly waste of money. If you don’t have enough to make at least the minimum payment, call the payee and make payment arrangements. Often they will waive the late fee the first time you are late. 
  8. Stick to your credit card limit. Your credit limit, along with your current balance for each line of credit, appears on your credit report and affects your credit score. Exceeding the limit may also result in fees, interest rate increases, or account closure.