It's May, also known as graduation season. Do you know of a graduating senior or do you have one in your household? Many new graduates find themselves in a new, more independent role, along with the financial independence that often comes along with living on their own. Although this is an exciting time, it can also be intimidating as money management is a big part of adulthood.

In order to help get students started on the path to financial independence, we wanted to offer the following tips:


  • Help your student learn the importance of creating a budget. The first step in managing your own finances is to create a realistic budget and sticking to it.
  • Watch spending. Keep all receipts and track spending. Pace all spending (even minor purchases) and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses, like eating out or shopping for new clothes, so that your money can last longer. 
  • Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities that come with using credit. Use it, but don’t abuse it. How you handle your credit in college could affect you well after graduation.
  • Take advantage of your bank’s resources. Most banks offer online, mobile and text banking tools to help manage your account night and day. Use these tools to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks and monitor all transactions.
  • Lookout for money. Look for student discounts or other deals on campus. 
  • Buy used. Consider buying used books or ordering them online. Buying books can become expensive. Often, purchasing used or renting books can make a great alternative. 
  • Entertain on a budget. There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy in college and many are even free for students. Use your meal plan or sample new recipes instead of eating out. 
  • Use only your bank’s ATMs. Avoid fees by using ATMs owned by or affiliated with your bank. If you must use an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank, take out larger withdrawals each time to avoid having to go back multiple times. 
  • Expect the unexpected. Things happen, and it's important that you are financially prepared when things happen, like your car or computer breaks down. You should start putting some money away immediately, no matter how small the amount. A little put away each paycheck can really add up. 
  • Ask. This is a learning experience so if you need help, simply ask your parents or your bank.

We’re here to help students just starting out. With over 100 First Bank branches, there’s a good chance we’re located in a college town near you; however, even if we’re not, don’t worry. Your student can still use their First Bank Debit Card, powered by MasterCard®, anywhere MasterCard is accepted! PLUS, First Bank offers over 130 ATMs. What’s more, your student will have access to First Bank’s online banking and mobile services. 

With our convenient banking services, First Bank makes it easier than ever to bank wherever you are—even away at college!