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Financial Fitness: Packing for College - Don't Forget to Bring Your Financial Tools

By James F. Brown, Jr.
President & CEO

Among the books, paper, pens, towels and sheets your college-bound child takes to school, remember to tuck in money-management essentials, too.

Your Checklist
Success at college encompasses more than academic prowess. It also requires that students handle more personal responsibilities, including their finances. To help ensure that your child is ready for life on his or her own, use this checklist before he or she leaves home.
Checking and savings accounts with debit card access Your child will have even more need for checking and savings accounts when away from home, and a debit card allows your student to access funds through ATMs and make purchases quickly. Be sure to remind your student to carefully track withdrawals, purchases and deposits to prevent overdrawing the accounts. It is also important that he or she reviews each month's statement.
Online banking One of the easiest ways to manage finances is to use online banking. Texas Gulf Bank offers the Texas Gulf Connection on this site. It's accessible anytime, which is a definite plus for the 24-7 life of a busy college student.
A budget Take time to estimate your child's out-of-pocket expenses and income for a semester. Then, sit down with your student and talk about it. Help your child create a spending plan and be accountable for sticking to it.
A credit card A credit card can be a great way for your child to cover true emergencies, shop online, safeguard purchases and benefit from a zero-liability policy for lost or stolen cards. However, it's important for your student to understand how finance charges and fees (for things such as cash advances and late payments) can add up. If used prudently, a credit card can help your child establish a sound credit history, which will come in handy later when he or she needs to rent an apartment or take out a car loan.

Ready to Go
Texas Gulf Bank offers a variety of personal finance services to help you and your student weather the financial demands of college. Plus, our accounts come with friendly, helpful service, so you never feel like you're completely on your own.

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