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The First Year Student Checklist

How to Save on College Essentials

One of the most significant steps in a young adult's life is when they leave home. This marks the beginning of their independence and often pushes them to begin making decisions for themselves. Elements is dedicated to supporting students as they transition from high school to higher education. If you’re packing your bags for a new dorm or college apartment, consider the following advice from our trusted financial experts to help you maximize your savings this school year.

Are you "dorm room ready?" Elements has created a complimentary college packing list that includes everything you’ll need for your dorm room or campus apartment.

Setting a Budget for College Supplies

As you cross items off your checklist, here are a few monthly expenses to consider:  

  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment (subscriptions, lecture activities, vacations, etc.)
  • Toiletries

This is the perfect time to establish a strategic plan to get the most out of your money for college and boost your financial literacy as you venture into adulthood. There are several free and easy-to-use online budgeting apps to help you manage your funds effectively.

Elements members can access budgeting tools through our Online Banking and Mobile App. Members can monitor their spending, budget, cash flow, net worth, and debts.

Do you have accounts outside of Elements? Using our tools, our credit union allows you to monitor your accounts held at other financial institutions to give you a bigger overview of your finances. Read more about our Online Banking.

Save Money While You Shop

We understand the pressure that comes with preparing for college. Why not save money while shopping for what you need? Here are a few shopping strategies our financial experts recommend to help keep some extra cash in your and your family's pockets:

  1. Understand your essential versus non-essential items - Narrow down the most important items needed for your living space.
  2. Consider shopping used - Look into online marketplaces such as Offer Up, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to find used furniture, electronics, and even textbooks.
  3. Take advantage of student discounts – Many stores and businesses have exclusive deals for college students.

Before you start shopping, sign up with UniDays at no cost to discover which stores could save you money!

Remember! Budgets shouldn’t feel restrictive. It’s all about creating a plan that best suits your lifestyle. Don’t stress about perfecting your budget right away. As a student, your top priority should be your education. Be patient with yourself as you formulate your college budget.

Navigating finances can be overwhelming for students, as the cost of tuition, books, and school supplies can add up. Our credit union offers an Undergraduate Private Student Loan to help students fill the gap when they’ve exhausted all other sources of financial aid.

Contact Elements Financial and have our experts help you reach your educational and financial goals.

Reference to, or information about, any specific product or service by name, trade name, trademark, or service mark in this article does not constitute an endorsement of that product or service.

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