Now is the time to establish smart money management skills. We’re help to help you get started.

Debt is an amount that is owed to a person or an organization for funds borrowed, and needs to be repaid, usually with interest. The first thing to consider about debt is that not all debt is bad. Certain debt, such as student loans, may be considered a good investment, or good debt, if managed properly.

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on your debt to make sure that it doesn’t spiral out of control. Sometimes, debt distress may appear harmless because they don’t occur daily, or people don’t them to any long-term consequences.

A few signs of debt distress include:

  • Using credit cards to pay for living expenses
  • Using the overdraft protection plan on your checking account to pay monthly bills
  • Taking on more debt to pay off existing debt
  • Paying only the minimum due on credit card accounts

If you find yourself in the habit of committing one or more of these, you should consider seeking help with developing a plan to pay off your debts.

A budget is an itemized summary of likely income and expenses during a certain time period. Usually formatted in a spreadsheet, a budget provides an organized an easily understood breakdown of how much money you have coming in and how much you are letting go. It’s an invaluable tool to help you prioritize your spending and manage your money – no matter how much or how little you have.

Here are a few apps that’ll help you get started on a budget.

Once you’ve created a budget, you’ll be better equipped to start saving money. Whether it’s for unexpected expenses, like car problems or a trip to the hospital, or for your long-term goals, such as getting your own apartment or taking a spring break vacation, it’s a good idea to start saving now.

You may not realize it, but saving even a little bit here and there will add up. Here are a few apps that’ll help you save money.

Loans can be a great resource to help pay your education expenses, but they can also cause you financial stress later on in life if you do not practice responsible borrowing.

Borrowing responsibly includes borrowing only what you need to pay your education expenses and what you can realistically afford to repay. By being mindful of how much you’re borrowing, you’ll be better prepared to begin making loan payments once you graduate from UT Austin.

Resources

CashCourse: Your Real Life Money Guide
The NEFE’s guide to financing college.

National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
The founders of CashCourse offers you tools and resources for after college.

iGrad: Your Future… Our Focus
Creates a personalized program to help you budget, pay off student loans, and start your career.

BestValueSchools: The Ultimate Guide to Affording College
Categorizes the financial benefits of different types of college courses, financial aid, with information on national scholarships.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): You Loan Information
The federal government’s summary of your student loan debt and your loan providers.

NerdWallet: Better Financial Decisions Start Here
Your personalized budgeting program with an app.

Practical Money Skills For Life
VISA’s basic to advanced level financial education program.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Information
A not-for-profit initiative with instructions on paying student loans and qualifying for loan forgiveness.

CNBC: College Game Plan
An up-to-date resource of news articles on financing college.

Community for Accredited Online Schools: College Guide for Low Income Students
Opportunities and resources for students facing financial challenges.

Please note that UT Austin is not affiliated with any of the links shared above.