Getting a hold of your finances before stepping foot into a career will be vital to managing your finances post graduation. Getting into good habits, contributing to loans early, and making smart financial decisions will give you a head start for the real world. You may even find yourself in better shape than you thought. To get you started, here are a few things you can be doing during your time in college to set you up post graduation.

Avoid Credit Pitfalls

You don’t want to graduate with even more debt than you already have. Avoid falling into credit card traps and getting yourself into debt that’s not so easy to climb out of. Any credit card’s high interest rates will keep knocking you down and pushing you further into debt. The best way to avoid credit card debt is to only make purchases that you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. Keeping a monthly balance of zero helps you build credit, but keeps you out of trouble.

Fight Food Costs

Food is expensive, especially if you’re on a meal plan. If you’re on a meal plan and sick of how much you have to pay for the plan, it may be time to take responsibility for own sustenance. If possible, cut your meal plan or lower it to something that’s a little more bearable. You’ll be surprised by how much money you’ll save.

Mentally (and physically) Prepare for Loan Payments

Being mentally and physically prepared for the shock of student loans is no joke. In order to prepare, there are a few things you can do: start paying off your loans early, set up recurring payments before your first due date, and know your repayment options. Doing all of these things will either keep you on track or help you manage your loans effectively.

Party Smart

Being a college student is an unforgettable time. There are social activities happening at all times, travel opportunities, and other events and activities that cost money. Preparing yourself for post-grad life does not mean you need to skimp out on all the fun things in front of you. You simply have to be smart with your spending and be able to pick and choose what you want to do and what you can afford.

Work Hard

The best way to get a grip on your money is to make more of it. Work as much as you can with the intention of saving money, paying down debt, and contributing to your living expenses. If you do all these things, you’ll wind up owing less money by the time you graduate and you’ll have a pretty good understanding of how to properly manage your money.