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How Students Can Strengthen Their Finances This Summer

Life after high school can feel like a new experience. Soon, you’ll make impactful decisions and take the first steps towards independence.

Of course, having the means to support yourself is one of the pillars of adulthood. Strengthening your financial literacy now and practicing what you learn will make transitioning into the working world easier.

Whether you’re entering college, starting a summer job, or about to make a big life change, now’s a good time to brush up on your budgeting and saving knowledge. Check out our primer on financial basics below.

Set Your Priorities

Starting something new, whether a new field of study or hobby, can feel overwhelming. The same holds true when handling finances on your own.

Before you start exploring niche finance topics, try setting a baseline of knowledge. Understanding the fundamentals of budgeting, saving, and spending becomes easier as you progress.

For starters, we recommend creating a budget. At its core, a budget allows you to:

  • Understand how much you’re earning
  • Identify what you need to cover essential expenses
  • See where you can make savings or spending money

Determine how much money you expect to make this month and weigh that against how much you need to spend on essentials. Then, see if you have money in a savings account. Finally, determine if you have extra spending money for discretionary purchases.

Check your spending regularly to stay on track. Write things down, create categories, or use an app or computer software. At the end of the month, you can use this as a record to track your progress. If you see you’re spending too much on takeout or other unnecessary expenses, now’s the time to adjust for next month.

Budgeting can also help you stay on track for savings goals. Let’s say you will start your first semester at college this fall. Determine how much you need for textbooks now and start allocating portions of your budget to pay that off. That way, you won’t take a huge hit since you know you have the money ready when it’s time to spend.

Account for Financial Pitfalls

If this is your first time working, earning income, and paying bills, it's important to avoid common financial pitfalls. You don’t want to end up in a debt trap, especially at the beginning of adulthood.

Common pitfalls that students should be aware of include:

  • Overspending: Getting your first few paychecks can be exciting. At the same time, the temptation to spend money will hit you before you know it. Think about your finances long-term before you go on a shopping spree. Spending everything on takeout or a new phone can drain your account quickly, and your bills will come due before you know it.


  • Accumulating debt: A credit card or loan payments are essential to building a credit score. However, piling up debts can lead to never-ending interest payments. Only use a credit card if you can pay the balance off sensibly. If you need to take out a loan, calculate how to budget around the payments and determine if it’s worth it well before you sign for anything.


  • Insufficient savings: Life happens. Emergencies and unexpected costs can pop up at any time. Get into the habit of putting money away every payday to have a cushion for things like car repairs or a school project.

Think about Your Long-Term Goals

As a young student, the entire future is right ahead of you. Living this time of your life where you can is a good idea. At the same time, you also need to prepare for the future.

Big plans incur big expenses. While working now, ensure you are saving for the future. Depending on your plans and goals, you’ll want to set aside money for many things like:

  • Education (Undergraduate, Graduate, Vocational Training)
  • Moving, travel, or experiences
  • Down payments for a car or house

Thinking a few years or a decade in advance can be daunting. On the other hand, it is unreasonable to have anyone figure out their entire life on the spot. Use your time now to get a feel for things, and save gradually so you’ll be ready when it is finally time to pay for the big projects in your life.

Even if you’re just starting, you can feel at ease knowing First Florida is here on your financial journey. With items like our student checking account, you can gain a head start on tracking your finances. Contact us or visit a branch to learn more.


A new streamlined FFIS page will be launched soon.

In the meantime, to access your accounts, visit

or call (800) 766-4328, x8806.