Prepare for college life
You've got a couple of weeks before shipping your student off to college. That means you may have a few teachable moments left to make sure your child adjusts to college life, studies hard, and stays out of financial trouble.
College is rife with temptations for students to overspend. There's the marketing factor -- U.S. quads are lined with credit card providers trying to snag innocent new spenders. And there's the lifestyle factor -- someone's always going to have a cooler cell phone, MP3 player or video game system, not to mention a fun trip planned for spring break.
None of that, of course, includes the cost of late-night pizzas, phone bills or gas for the car, to say nothing of the other expenses a student might incur living off-campus or footing the educational bill if a parent hits hard times financially.
That's why it's a smart idea to help your kids keep their spending in check and avoid the disastrous consequences of having to repay credit card bills.
Remember, your child is an adult who will be living independently for the first time. While colleges may provide them with good academic and career guidance, chances are you'll be their best -- and only -- resource for financial education.
That's why one of the best lessons you can impart to your child who may be tempted to go over budget is that the short-term pleasures will be far outweighed by the long-term sacrifices he or she is going to have to make.