Money Tips for College Students

by Erica Starr 14. November 2012

Money tips for college students

If you are like many young people, going off to college is the first time you begin to feel like an independent individual. Your parents and teachers have taught you all they can to prepare you for the “real world,” and now it’s up to you to decide whether or not you’d like to follow the advice and lessons you’ve learned over the years.

With no one around to scold you or tell you what to do, entering into your newly emancipated lifestyle, it can be tempting to make irresponsible financial decisions; the kinds of decisions that give you immediate gratification without thinking about the long-term effects.

Before you get yourself into a big financial mess so early on in your independent financial life, take a look at these scary stats:
  • According to the 2012 Consumer Financial Survey, 42% of respondents gave themselves ratings of C, D or F on their personal finance knowledge.
  • A recent National Economic Research Associates survey of 6,500 high-debt student loan borrowers found that 65% misunderstood or were surprised by aspects of their student loans or the student loan process. (Source: The New York Times)
  • Approximately one-third of recent grads, if they could do it all again, would have pursued more scholarships or financial aid options, pursued a major that would have led to a higher paying job, or gotten a job while in college and started saving earlier. (Source: Accounting Principals)

Translation: Unless you want to end up grouped into one of these statistics one day, you probably should start getting yourself familiar with the equation of spending less than you’re bringing in. Despite the above stats, oddly enough, personal finance can be fairly easy as long as you are prepared and start the process of saving, prioritizing, and budgeting as early as possible.

It's All About Self Control

For years, I heard from my parents, “Needing and wanting are two very different things.” As with most things, they were right. Just because it’s new and shiny, that doesn’t translate into you being unable to survive without it. Take a few deep breathes and prioritize what you really need to focus your financial efforts on this month. Books? Gas? Tuition? Food? You know, the life necessities when you are a college student. As much as that new COD game or designer outfit may seem like a necessity, you’ll probably discover that you can do without it for awhile.

Where is Your Money Coming from, and More Importantly, Where is It Going?

Repeat after me, “Excel spreadsheets and Personal Financial Management tools like Mariner360 are my friends.” By visually seeing the amount of money you are bringing in versus the amount that is going out, the idea of expenses being less than your income will become a core value in your life. Trust me, once you realize how much a daily Starbucks visit will run you over the course of the month, you’ll start to reevaluate and realize that making small, manageable adjustments to your everyday routine can have as much of an impact as the dent the latte puts on your wallet, but in a much more positive way.

Check out Mariner360, which helps aggregate your expenses and income into one user-friendly platform. You can then slice and dice the information, see trends and even set up alerts (i.e. I only want to spend $50 on dining out a month) that let you know when you are close to hitting your custom set budgets.

Be Leary of Credit Cards

While credit cards are a great way to help you start establishing your credit, they also can be a great way to put you into thousands of dollars of debt. Credit card companies look at college students as fresh meat. They know that establishing credit is important for young adults and so they go to extremes to get you on board early. You’ll see booths at every campus event, and they’ll try to entice students by offering them incentives to open up a card such as free tickets to an upcoming sporting event, or a micro-fiber fleece with your school name on it.

Again, credit cards do help you start to establish credit, but make sure to refer to the “It’s All about Self-Control” tip and pay off your card EVERY month. Use your credit card for only a few specific things such as gas or books. This way, you won’t be overly tempted to put unnecessary purchases on your card and find yourself underwater at the end of the month.

Start a “What If” Emergency Fund

If it can go wrong, it will. It’s Murphy’s Law. The earlier in life you learn this theory, the better. At the end of every month, set aside a few bucks for the “what if” scenarios that you never think, or more importantly WANT, to happen. The more you start getting in the habit of putting money into an emergency fund, the more at ease you will be in the event that you run into some troubles financially.

If you are one of the lucky ones that manage to fly below the radar of good ol’ Murphy and his law, then you’ll have a nice chunk of change to put towards something of importance like a down payment on a house, or that vacation you’ve been wanting to take.

Remember, at the end of the day, managing your finances is a fairly easy process. You don’t need a financial advisor or an advanced degree in finance to establish a good foundation for managing your money. As with most things, simplicity and common sense goes a long way.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

How I Graduated Debt-Free from College

I Just Graduated from College, Welcome to My Private Jet

Money in Your 30s: Manage It, Don't Be Managed by It

We Found Out How You REALLY Feel...and We're Thrilled!

by Erica Starr 22. October 2012

Conversation Report

 

Wouldn't it be great if banks could get a report on what customers ACTUALLY thought about their products, services and overall offerings? No, we’re not talking about focus groups or surveys. We’ve all done those before, right? They may be helpful for banks like us to gain some insight as to how our customers gauge our services, but wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow be a fly on the wall during some of those un-administered conversations?

Even better, wouldn’t it be great if 1st Mariner Bank was mentioned in that report as one of the front-runners as innovators of social media in the banking industry? Oh wait, we were…

Source: The Conversation Report

Back in June of 2012, Social Media Explorer put together “The Conversation Report: What Consumers Are Saying About Banking.” They primarily monitored online conversations across the country using online market research tools, social media monitoring tools and other indexing services. This means that they used actual, real data from individuals discussing their financial institutions in their own “habitat,” on their own time.

And, drumroll please…your hometown, community bank, 1st Mariner Bank was recognized for our social media efforts. How ‘bout them apples?

A big thanks to the folks over at Social Media Explorer for recognizing 1st Mariner Bank in their national banking report. Check out more about “The Conversation Report: What Consumers Are Saying About Banking.”

If you’d like to take a peek behind the curtain and see what all the hype is about, come check out our social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or sign up to get our blog posts sent directly to your inbox.

What do you think about your services here at 1st Mariner Bank? As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. The good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful? Any feedback is good feedback in our eyes.

Our memories of Scunny - "The Character of the Square"

by Erica Starr 28. August 2012

When we decided to put together our Joe Flacco - local “Baltimore Community Neighborhoods” spot,
we needed to incorporate a familiar place and face that resonated with the people of Baltimore. A face
that immediately made you feel like you were a part of Baltimore’s community…part of the Baltimore
family and a friend. It took us all but two seconds to think of good ol’ Scunny McCusker and his home
on O’Donnell Square (or as we always called him, “The Character of the Square”). Per the usual, it took
Scunny even less time to agree to lend a helping hand…immediately followed by a standing offer to
enjoy a crush or two down at Mama’s on the house.

As long as we can remember, a visit from Scunny to our Canton branch has always been an experience
to look forward to. Whether he was sporting his famous Natty Boh PJ’s to make a deposit, or
volunteering to dress up as Elvis for our charity car wash (which included washing cars), Scunny’s
presence always seem to bring a smile to the faces of those in his presence. As a longtime customer
and more importantly, a friend of 1st Mariner Bank, we’d like to offer our deepest sympathies to the
McCusker family and to the Canton community for this incredible loss.

Scunny, you are truly irreplaceable. The written word can’t adequately bring you justice in regards to
what you’ve done for this community. Baltimore won’t be the same without you pal. To our “Character
of the Square”, you will be missed.

We’d like to also join the community by encouraging everyone to come down to Canton tomorrow,
Wednesday, August 29th, to help celebrate the life of Patrick “Scunny” McCusker. 30% of all daily sales
at participating establishments will be donated to Scunny’s favorite charity, The Believe in Tomorrow
Foundation
. A list of restaurants includes but is not limited to:

The Americana
Blue Hill Tavern

Chesapeake Wine Co.
Claddagh’s
Gin Mill

JD's Smokehouse
Looney's Pub (all locations)
Plug Ugly's Publick House
Portside

Saute
Shiso Tavern
Speakeasy
Tavern on the Square


Ladies and Gentlemen….Elvis has left the building.



© 2008- 1st Mariner Bank