JMHS Blog

Tips for Parents - Teach Your Child to Budget

Written by James Madison High School on Wednesday, 15 July 2015. Posted in College Bound

Tips for Parents - Teach Your Child to Budget

As college applications are completed and acceptances begin to roll in, it is time to consider college finances. What students learn at college goes beyond the classroom, and there are things you do, JMHS parents, to help your student make excellent grades in "Financing College 101." You should begin to budget as a team — or buddy budget, consider credit cards, encourage saving, and consider a collegiate job. Our online high school wants to support you as your child moves from high school to college.

Four Steps to Freshmen (and beyond) Finances

Buddy Budget – Begin to talk to your son or daughter about budgeting. A perfect opportunity for this is to buy the college necessities with them using a strict budget. Together you should.

  1. Set the budget
  2. Make a list of items needed
  3. Separate needs from wants
  4. Start using coupons
  5. Bargain shop for basics — at consignment, discount and dollar stores
  6. Track spending

This small exercise is a great way to introduce your soon-to-be online high school graduate to budgeting. Additionally, decide now how much spending money your child will receive each month while at college, project the estimated expenditures, have a plan for emergency needs, and be prepared to let go of your child. Be realistic; not every child (or adult) easily grasps finances, and there may be a learning curve.

Credit Cards – You may want to get a credit card for your soon-to-be graduate. This is an important step toward financial responsibility. Applying for one is a personal decision, but it is important that your son or daughter starts building up their credit profile. If this scares you, then co-sign for a card.

It is smart to go through this process when your child is still at home. Credit card companies will mail college students a plethora of offers, and it is best that this process is completed as a parent/child unit. Once the card is obtained, decide:

  1. Is there a budget and if so, what is it?
  2. Who will pay the bill?
  3. Is the card only for emergencies?

Encourage Saving – It is strongly recommended that once your child finishes JHMS online high school, he or she get a job for the summer if possible. Some of the income from that job should be saved. It's not uncommon to decide that as much as half should be banked into a savings account. Talk to your child about this and include this step in the budget-making process. You want to create financially smart children, and saving is a piece of that puzzle.

Collegiate Careers – JMHS understands that your child's main jobs at college are to study, learn, and have academic success. If your student finds the collegiate adjustment goes quickly and smoothly and wants to work a part-time job, consider it. There are hundreds of on-campus jobs and most of them are part-time. Letting your child earn his or her own spending money helps to build a responsible adult.

Congratulations on your upcoming James Madison High School graduation. As you prepare for college, use our tips for financial excellence.

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James Madison High School

James Madison High School

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