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6 Steps to Managing Finances

Budgets. Bills. Banks. Managing these extracurriculars can be just as important to your student experience as rec sports or study groups! Start here with advice from Bears for Financial Success and Bank of the West, the official bank of UC Berkeley. These 6 easy steps will help get your student finances to the top of the class:

  1. Establish your budget: Start by jotting down your monthly take-home pay (income) and then calculate all the things you have to pay for to get by (expenses): textbooks, transportation, entertainment, phone, rent, utilities, etc. If your monthly expenses exceed your income, you may need to reevaluate and distinguish what you really need. Got money left over? Start saving! Every dollar counts towards your future goals.

  2. Have access to a local and digital bank. During these times you need quick access to your money. Bank of the West is here to support and manage your money virtually anywhere, whether on-campus at one of our 10 ATMs and campus branch, online, or on your mobile device.

    (Note: You are not obligated to bank with Bank of the West.)

  3. Open a savings account: Start by putting a little money in your account every month, no matter the amount. Set goals for your savings, including vacations, career aspirations, and emergencies. Saving is a great habit to get into now…it’s hard to imagine sometimes, but as we know, unexpected expenses come up, and you’ll be calmer knowing you have some funds on hand.

  4. Get friendly with your checking account: Checking your checking account is important so you can assess your funds, manage your savings, and adjust your spending if needed. The best part: Monitoring your account is easy to do via mobile app! And you may detect potential fraudulent activity right away and take precautions.

  5. Pay bills before they are due: Late fees are costly and quickly add up, and you can save money by paying bills on time. Don’t have enough to pay the minimum? Don’t be afraid to call your bank to discuss the options that work best for you. Schedule payment reminders on your personal calendar or set up auto-pay to protect your money.

  6. Watch your credit: Having a solid credit score can assist you on future tasks like applying for your first apartment or getting approved for a personal loan. Apply for a credit card that offers you the best interest rate, relevant perks, and manageable credit limit. Be sure to read the fine print: exceeding some credit card limits results in heavy fees.

Reach out to Bears with Financial Success or Bank of the West with any questions, guidance, or support to help you manage your money.