NEW YORK -- Sending your child off to college is an exciting milestone - and a big change for both of you. Whether they're staying local or going to college out of state, you want to make sure they have everything they'll need.
Especially when it comes to managing money.
Follow these steps to help your son or daughter stay on top of their finances at school - and learn money management skills that will serve them for years to come.
1. Create a Budget
Work together to make a list of your child's expenses, such as food not covered by the school's meal plan, textbooks, their cell phone bill and fun activities. Then create a monthly budget based on these estimated costs.
2. Choose a Checking Account
A checking account is essential, and Ridgewood Savings Bank's Student Advantage Checking is tailor-made for college. It comes with a free Ridgewood Debit Mastercard, free online and mobile banking, and lots more. Best of all? No monthly fee.
3. Plan Ahead
If you'll be providing your child with spending money at school, decide how much you will put in their account and whether you will deposit funds monthly or in a lump sum at the start of each semester. Having a clear timeline and limited funds can help your child learn to budget and manage their spending, and may encourage them to find a part-time job for greater financial independence.
4. Avoid Banking Fees
Remind your child to check their balance often to avoid overdraft penalties, and make sure they know which ATMs are free and which aren't. At Ridgewood, we make it easy to avoid ATM fees with 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs available through the Allpoint network. And, because mistakes sometimes happen, our Student Advantage Checking account offers one free "Oops" fee per year if your child accidentally overdraws their account.*
5. Monitor Spending and Transfer Funds
Online banking makes it easy for your child, and you, to keep tabs on their spending. Encourage your child to pay attention to their balance, which will show them when to say no to dinner out or a spontaneous purchase. And, if you want to view your child's account to see if they need additional funds, online banking lets you access their account from anywhere - even across the country. If you need to send money for travel or other expenses, you can do so electronically.
6. Protect Their Account
Remind your child not to share their debit card, ATM PIN or online banking password with anyone, and consider setting up notifications for suspicious account activity. At Ridgewood, we offer our CardValet app that provides the ability to receive real-time security alerts, and it also lets you or your child "turn off" their debit card if it's ever misplaced, lost or stolen.
Student-Friendly Banking Starts Here
With Ridgewood's FREE Student Advantage Checking account, parents can add funds to their child's account at any time, and busy students can manage their money when and where they want with our highly rated mobile banking app - all with no monthly service fee. Banking in college couldn't be easier.
Learn more and help your child open Student Advantage Checking today!
* The Oops fee can be used to waive one Non-Sufficient Fund fee per calendar year.