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Money Management Tips for College Freshmen

As high schools across the country prepare for and hold their graduation ceremonies, the graduating students are now looking forward to the college years. These outgoing seniors from high school and incoming freshmen in college will be put in an independent situation for the first time in their lives.

But while such independence is often exhilarating for the young adults, mature adults understand that with independence comes responsibility, namely financial responsibility. Financial responsibility entails a host of different items, but mostly it can be summated into being wise with expenditures, careful with savings, and handling money with care.

Start With Managing Your Money

The first thing that a newly independent freshman college student can do to become financially responsible and to begin to learn how to manage their money well is to understand the aid that online money management tools can give. Most banking institutions can provide a form of online banking and money management tools so speaking with one’s bank may be the best place to start learning the online tools available.

Online money management tools are effective for many different reasons. One of their primary functions is to assist in the creation and adherence to a budget.

Budgeting has long since been the foundation of proper money management and the backbone to financial success. Without a budget, college freshman especially are vulnerable to over spending and wasted resources.
Creating a budget for the first year of school is a relatively simple task. A college freshman can begin by examining all of the necessary expenses that they will be facing for their first semester at school.

Typically these expenses will include such things as rent, meal plans, textbooks, and transportation costs. After list all of the known expenses that will be incurred over the course of the semester, a college freshman can total that cost compared to what they will be earning every month from their jobs.

Once the necessary costs of food and shelter are accounted for, the remaining money from income can be distributed among other items in the budget such as for savings and entertainment. Beyond helping a college freshman to create a stick to their budget, online money management tools serve to help the student in all forms of financial responsibility.

Set Up Your Online Budgeting Tools The Right Way

With the online tools available, a student can set alarms for bill pay or set up an automatic bill pay service for the regular costs of things such as rent or utilities. In addition, an online money management tool offered by a bank or independent third party will help to assist the student see their total money map, or where their money is being spent, and thus allow them to make changes to their expenditures where necessary.

Along with the aid of an online money management tool, an incoming freshman student can help themselves to regulate their spending and learn quality money habits by using prepaid debit cards or debit cards from their traditional checking or savings accounts. Prepaid debit cards are especially handy for a freshman student because of the fact that prepaid cards eliminate the likelihood of incurring credit card debt.

Consider Using a Prepaid Credit Card

While still maintaining the effectiveness, usefulness, and convenience of a credit card, a prepaid debit card does not allow for an inexperienced young freshman to make big time financial mistakes while using their card. This is made possible by the fact that a prepaid card is a card that has a set amount of prepaid money allotted to the card.

In this way, a prepaid card only allows the card holder, in this case a financially novice freshman, to spend the amount that is on the card and therefore prohibits incurring debt. Prepaid debit cards teach a college freshman how to responsibly handle money by not giving them the temptation of false or fake money that credit cards allude to.

Instead, with a prepaid debit card, a college freshman will be able to regulate their own spending by understanding that there is a set limit to the financial backing on the card. Prepaid debt cards do usually come with a high startup fee initially, however, so those who are considering using one for their freshmen year should shop around for the best deal on a prepaid debit card.

Or, if they choose, an incoming college freshman may wish to use their debit card that their bank gives to them upon the setup of a checking account. Often checking accounts at banks can be set up for little or no cost with a specified minimum to begin the account.

By using money management tools online and using prepaid debit cards or debit cards from their bank a college freshman will be able to learn sound money management techniques. And by learning how to manage their money early during their first year of independence, freshmen will be able to set good financial habits that will aid them throughout their lives.

Modern Day Allowance on Prepaid Credit Cards?

For most parents, the thought of having a credit card as a pre-teen or teenager was unheard of for their generation but more and more parents are finding out that it’s a reality for kids growing up today. There are several reasons that prepaid credit or debit cards are now becoming commonplace for kids in today’s society. One of the largest reasons that credit cards for teenager and kids are becoming so common is that a lot of parents realize that credit cards are going to play a huge role in their children’s lives and will most likely be the sole form of payment that they use in the future.

And looking into the future it’s not just credit cards that will be used, if Google has their way people will begin making the move to their “Google Wallet” platform and when that happens all you’ll need to do to make a purchase is wave your cell phone over a credit card reader and that will be it. With all of these advances in technology it’s becoming even more important to kids and teenagers to become familiar with electronic purchases.

Credit Cards For Beginners

As we discuss providing credit cards for kids or teenagers it’s important to point out that it’s still important to teach children about money the old fashioned way by earning and spending real money. By teaching kids with real dollars and coins as opposed to putting them straight onto credit cards, kids will understand that when there are no more dollars or coins in their wallet, they are out of money.

Once your children or teenagers have a good understanding of money, how to count it, what it takes to earn it, and how to be responsible with it you can ease them into learning about how credit cards work with a prepaid credit or debit card. The reason we don’t recommend going straight to a prepaid debit or credit card for educational purposes is the fact that when you do that, the money isn’t real to them and they have no understanding of the consequences of poor money management. Believe it or not, most people when they move out of the house and on their own have no understanding of how credit cards work and before they fully gain an understanding they can find themselves in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

In addition to teaching kids about money, there are several other reasons where a prepaid debit card or prepaid credit card comes in handy for kids. The fact of the matter is kids today want different things, where kids used to be happy with a few bucks so that they could go down to the store and get a back of baseball cards, today they’d rather have a few dollars loaded on an iTunes card so that they can download their favorite music, games, or television show within seconds. Some of the most common reasons kids like to use credit cards today are:

Online Purchases- With parents working more and more kids have found a way to become more self-reliant, one way that they’ve done that is by not sitting around and waiting for mom or dad to have time to take them to the store they need to go to down town but by finding what they need online. More than any other generations before, kids today have an ever increasing comfort level and knowledge of how to order the products they want online. To make these purchases possible parents can either trust their children with their personal credit cards or set up a prepaid credit card for them.

iTunes- iTunes has become an all in one media marketplace for over 500 Million users and whether it’s music, movies, TV shows, games, or the “in app purchases” that you hear so much about in the news iTunes is the source. Kids know what apps their friends are playing and what music is popular and they like to be able to download it instantly, all of that is possible with a prepaid debit or credit card.

eBay Items- If people can’t find something on a typical ecommerce website or are looking for a deal or something off the wall, eBay is the next logical step after. Most teenagers today have found something they want on eBay and some have already made thriving businesses on eBay so it’s no wonder that teenagers may need access to a prepaid debit or credit card for these purchases. In addition to prepaid debit or credit cards another common form of payment on eBay is through a payment transfer company called PayPal. As we mentioned earlier in the article it’s important that kids understand how all forms of electronic payment work so that they can be as disciplined as possible with it and by training kids with a prepaid debit card, they will gain an understanding of how to become more disciplined with their PayPal purchases as well.

Gaming Mods- Going in line with some of the off the wall purchases that kids have grown accustomed to, “gaming mods” are upgrades or additional levels that kids can purchase within modern day video games. Again, to be able to purchase these mods kids will need a credit card so the safest way to limit these purchases is with the use of a prepaid debit or credit card.

The fact that kids are becoming more comfortable with these online purchases is a great sign for the technology available today but as we mentioned before, without a solid understanding and appreciation of what it takes to earn and effectively manage real money, these electronic purchases can get out of hand quickly.

Another thing to take into consideration is that a lot of time with these “Gaming Mod” or “In App Purchases” where real money can be spent to buy virtual items or money in the games can cause the lines to get blurred between real money and virtual money which can lead to overspending. As long as kids have been taught to be disciplined with their finances they’ll be more likely to approach even virtual purchases in a disciplined manner.

If you’re interested in setting your kids or teenagers up with a prepaid credit card visit your local Check City location and talk to one of our helpful tellers to see which option is best for your needs.

Using Prepaid Debit Cards to Cover Costs without Worry

Prepaid debit cards are a great asset to have. Whether you are gifting money to someone else or you would like to have a more theft proof account for your own purposes, these cards make it easy to pay for things without worry. As such, these cards have a lot of utility and benefit connected with them. It is worth it to look into what you can do with a prepaid debit card at this time.

Should you want to gift money to someone else, a prepaid debit card is a very fast and easy way to do it. You can load funds onto these cards which are then drawn from until completely depleted as the cards are used. Since the account used is self contained, you don’t have to worry about other people interfering with it at all, giving you a completely secure method of giving money.

Another benefit to using a prepaid debit card is the fact that you can use it as a primary way of spending without needing to worry about account security. You can use a prepaid card for transactions, and then transfer funds into it as needed. This way, you will not need to worry about identity theft if the card is misplaced or stolen. As the account is self contained to the amount on the card, it cannot really be utilized to farm further funds from you if stolen.

Lastly, these cards are great if you want to stay within a budget. By loading specific amounts onto them, you can completely control the amount of money that you will spend. For budgeting purposes, this is a very useful function and it should lead to better results overall.

At Check City, we are proud to offer great prepaid debit cards for you to select from. Visit any of our locations in order to pick one up today!

Help Limit Spending With These 4 Tips

Most people are continually on the lookout for different ways to limit spending. Saving money is a common and essential practice among most individuals. Different methods to be smart with one’s money are always being studied, adjusted, and modified. Some methods to help limit spending have always been in place for generations and they continue to be intelligent money management solutions. Others seem to fade as better and more efficient methods are created. Although there are new ways, it’s always important to remember those methods that have been around for generations. Some of these time honored solutions to help limit spending include:

Opening a Savings Account

Opening and contributing regularly to a savings account is one way to limit your spending. If you do not have a card that is linked directly to your savings account, then it is harder to spend the money in that account. A growing savings account can look more and more tempting, so it’s important to set goals in advance what you are going to take out. You may want to have two separate savings accounts or at least two sections of money in your savings account. One section for specific needs like education, vacation or food and the other section for emergency needs.

Budgeting

There is nothing like good old budgeting. Setting and sticking to a budget is hard, but it is one of the best ways to save money and limit spending. By living within your means you can save more money each and every paycheck. If you have never actually set and stuck to a budget before you can try it out yourself or you can try talking to a professional. Sometimes if you get someone else involved you can cut more and really limit spending. Budgeting is a great way to see exactly where all of your money is going. It is very helpful and will help you reduce unnecessary spending. There are a lot of very good budgeting tips and techniques like envelope budgeting, spreadsheet budgeting, etc. Talk to a professional to see what technique best fits your situation.

Use Cash

One additional way that people can save more money is by using cash to pay for items instead of purchasing items with a credit card. This may seem like an old fashioned idea but it is for that very reason that it will work for you. In today’s market, it is rare to see paper money changing hands at the grocery store or other similar mercantile places. With the convenience of credit cards in place of money, there is a trend emerging among individuals who overspend on their credit cards not realizing that they do not have the funds necessary for their purchases. By using cash, people will be less likely to spend money on items they don’t need because they see the physical loss of money at the time of purchase.

Consider purchasing a prepaid debit card from Check City. A prepaid debit card from Check City will have the same money saving result as using cash because you decide how much money to put on the card at any given time. This way you can get the best of both worlds!

De-Clutter

Although this isn’t a “classic” way to limit spending, it is a very creative way. This may just seem like a keyword for cleaning your house but it can actually help you limit your spending. How so you ask? By eliminating the clutter in your home you make it nicer to live in and nicer for other’s to come visit. This will result in staying in and eating your meals in your clean uncluttered house. Now you can spend more time eating at home and having friends over to do fun activities instead of going out and spending money.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips to help you limit spending and save money. Thanks for reading!

4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping can be a joy or a chore. Trying to find the sold out, overpriced gift the day before Christmas in a crowded store can be very stressful. But don’t worry, we are here to help! With these early Christmas shopping tips and tricks, your Christmas shopping experience will be nothing but fun.

Save Money

It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping! Don’t wait for the high prices around the Christmas season. Start now, and chip away at your Christmas list. Whether you have a large family, or small, your budget will feel less of a pinch if you spend a small percentage each month, rather than a chunk in December. Not only can you save money by spreading out your Christmas shopping, but you keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year. You can savor the feeling of finding just the right gift for a loved one.

Save money by early Christmas shopping during big sales. Take advantage of great prices and sales and look for Christmas gifts. From Black Friday to Holiday/seasonal sales, these are all great ways to save money.

By getting your shopping done early, you can have a stress free holiday season and spend your time with family and friends, rather than stressing about Christmas shopping.

Early Essentials

Start your Christmas essentials shopping the day after Christmas. Lights, tinsel and other decorative necessities go on steep discount after Christmas. This is the perfect time to stock up on decorations for next year’s festivities. It may be challenging shopping for Christmas decorations after Christmas, but you will thank yourself for doing that a year later. Don’t be late, start your early Christmas shopping today!

If you have kids, you might want to carefully consider what your kids will like in a year’s time. If your kids like toys now, will they in 12 months? Any gifts you buy at this time should be a projection of what will be pleasing later.

Make a List

Start with a list of family and friends you intend to buy for. Include doormen, bus drivers, no matter how small, your list should be complete. Review your list periodically to keep your recipients fresh in your mind. Reviewing your list is really helpful so you won’t lose track of anyone. If you’ve missed someone, add them to the list so you can buy for them later.

Everyday Shopping

While you are doing your normal shopping, keep an eye out for the perfect gift for someone on your list. If you’re looking for a blouse, and spot a dress your mother would love, buy it and put it away.

As you buy items for your list, remember to put all the gifts in the same place. If you leave gifts in various places, you run the risk of misplacing gifts, or the recipient sees the gift lying around. When you keep the gifts in the same place, you keep the idea of “gift” alive and well.

When you plan your Christmas shopping throughout the year, you can save money, time, and stress. If you have your shopping done early, you are free to enjoy the holidays! Start your early Christmas shopping today!

Why You Need a Prepaid Debit Card

Prepaid debit cards are a great tool and can be used in so many different ways. Whether you are trying to practice good budgeting habits, or need a reliable card for you and your family, a prepaid debit card is a great solution. Here are some great reasons why you should have a prepaid debit card:

Pay On-Time with a Prepaid Debit Card

If you do not have experience in making on-time payments, you should start with a prepaid debit card. Using this method will enable you to set aside a set amount of money each month to pay for food, bills, and other necessities. A prepaid debit card allows you to learn good spending habits. Prepaid debit cards do not allow you to spend more than you have. Each month, you can add a new balance to help you better you budget.

Budgeting

A prepaid debit card is a great way to help with your budgeting. Deposit a certain amount each month, and have the certainty that you will not overspend. With prepaid debit cards, you cannot spend more than you have. Start budgeting today with one of the great prepaid debit cards with no monthly fees.

Prepaid Debit cards can also be a great tool to teach your young ones how to budget. Give them their selected budget and go over their purchases with them each month. By doing this, you can teach them better budgeting solutions.

Convenience

The process is simple with prepaid debit cards. Simply purchase one at any of our Check City locations. After you have purchased one, visit any Check City location to upload funds to your card!

Whether someone is looking to control their own finances or wants someone else to have spending money, these cards provide a versatile and effective platform for financial transactions. Be sure to stop by Check City and speak with a customer service representative about a prepaid debit card.

Being Able to Manage Your Credit Cards

If you are having any kind of issue with credit card debt or problems with too many cards and lines of credit, it can seem a bit overwhelming at times. Such issues can be stressful to deal with and it can be a bit confusing figuring out where to turn or what to do. The good news is that there is always hope when it comes to credit card situations.

Being able to manage your credit cards is mostly about simplification and building up good financial habits over time. If you are having problems keeping a lot of cards and lines of credit separate, then cutting down on the total number of cards that you have is a good idea. You are going to ideally want to have one or two credit cards to use.

Please note that cancelling a card does not take care of unpaid credit issues. Therefore, pay off cards in full and then cancel them in order to avoid penalties there. Use your remaining one or two cards for all of your purchases, and try to pay them back promptly. Doing this will not only simplify things and make it easier to keep track of your finances, but this will also be a viable way to improve on your credit score.

Improving your credit score and getting all of your lines of credit under control are both great goals, and if you can combine them then that is even better. When it all comes down to it, a lot of people run into problems because they grab cards and lines of credit and think that it somehow equals more money. Instead of doing that, being consistent and careful with credit cards will lead to better financial power. Try it out! It is a very effective process overall.

If you’re sick of credit card debt and bank overdraft fees, try the Check City NetSpend Prepaid Debit Card! No hidden fees or overage charges.

Big Changes for Online Shoppers

If you are used to shopping online, you may find that your bill will increase in the next few months.  Amazon, a large internet retail company, will start to charge sales tax in eight more states over the next few years.  Starting in September, Amazon shoppers in California and Pennsylvania will start having to pay sales tax for what they purchase.

As Amazon starts to build more physical locations, they will be required to charge sales tax for the states in which they are present. Amazon is hoping that they can offer same day delivery to more of their customers. Amazon is in the bargaining process with a few of the states, because they are bringing thousands of jobs to the states.

Shopping online can be a great way to save money and time.  As people all around the United States start shopping online, you may want to give it a try.  If you do not have a bank account a Netspend Prepaid Debit card may be exactly what you need to shop online.  Stop by any Check City location and sign up for your Netspend Prepaid Debit Card.  This card will give you the ability to spend money online, without worrying about having to send money securely. Having your money intercepted can be dangerous and frustrating.

After signing up for your Netspend Prepaid Debit card, you can explore the many different tools that come with the card. Budgeting is a lot easier when an online tool tells you exactly where you have been spending your money.  Working with the online tool is a great way to ensure that you are spending money where you want to be spending the money. After you run out of money on the card, you can simply reload it with the cash that you are able to spend.

Prepaid Debit Cards

When you are looking for a prepaid card, you should be sure that you find the card that is right for you. There are new institutions across the nation providing prepaid cards. When you are looking for a prepaid card, you will want to be sure that you find a card that meets all of your needs. First, you should be sure that a prepaid card is going to be a good financial decision. There are some charges that can come with prepaid cards and you will want to get an entire list of any charges that you may acquire while you are using your card. For example, some cards will charge you for card purchases or ATM withdrawals. After you have a list of the cost of the card, you can then compare it to your checking account. If you do not have a checking account, you can compare it to your current payment method costs.

Second, you should be sure that the card is going to be convenient for you. Do not replace a method of payment that works well for you, unless you know that your prepaid card is going to be a more convenient method of payment. If you are having to hassle with cash for each of your payments, you may find that a prepaid card is your best option.

Finally, make sure that you understand the tools that come with the prepaid card you are looking into. Check City is a Netspend card provider, and with this card comes many budgeting tools. Budgeting with a prepaid card will ensure that you are not paying overdraft or bank fees. The money that you have in your card is the money that you are able to use. If you go over this amount, you will not be able to use your card.

Take time making your decision. This way, you can be sure that you have the prepaid card that is going to work the best for your situation. Then, you will be happy with the form of payment that you use on a daily basis.

Getting a Prepaid Debit Card

If you are used to using cash, you may want to transition to using a debit card. Although getting a bank account may be a more difficult endeavor than you wish to undertake, a prepaid debit card may be a great option. There are many different benefits that you can take advantage of when you are using a debit card. If you have never used a debit card, you may want to think about these benefits before you make your final decision…

1. Convenience – When you use a debit card you do not have to carry around the cash that you know you are going to need. You also do not have to make sure that you have all of the cash that you need, but instead you can be sure that the cash that you need is in your account.
2. Time – When you are using a debit card there will be a lot less time that you need for each purchase. There are a lot of people that struggle counting out all of the cash that they need and with one easy swipe, you can spend a lot less time with each purchase.
3. Budgeting – When you use a prepaid debit car you can utilize the different tools to keep track of your budget. You will be able to ensure that you are within your budget and doing all that you can to stay within your budget. You will also be able to easily keep track of your money.
4. Ease – You can get a prepaid debit card without a credit check and you will be able to have some account history as you continue to add money to your account and then use the money that you have added to the account. Taking time to work with the money that you put on the account can be great training for a bank account in the future.

So, if you are ready to take the plunge stop by one of your Check City locations today! We can get you set up with your first prepaid debit card.

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