Parents and Families


Last edition, we asked – How do you help your Michigan student manage money? Enjoy these responses from other Michigan parents, as well as some resources via the U-M Office of Financial Aid and Student Life.

My son is always hungry and finds it quick and easy to visit Chipotle, Pizza House, Taco Bell, you name it.  He lives in a fraternity and we already pay for his room and board.  To incent him to eat the meals at the house, we agreed to deposit $20 per week extra "food/snack money" (no Saturday dinner is served at the house).  If he chooses to eat out during the week, those charges are paid by him by debit card linked to his own checking account.  If he doesn't eat out, then he gets to keep the extra money.  We no longer have fast food charges showing up on our credit card statements.

I don't use a debit card and assumed if you didn't have any money the debit card wouldn't work. Read that fine print on the bank agreement. My daughter's bank very thoughtfully "allowed" her to overdraw on her debit card at $37 a pop. All very legal – she signed the agreement at orientation - yet predatory. Many lessons learned outside the classroom.

Have your student check out the Cash Course from the Office of Financial Aid and the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education. This free personal finance website offers videos, suggestions, and templates for students on topics like budgeting basics, being credit savvy, and saving made easy.

You can also explore this Family Matters article on how one student learned to budget.  Student Jessica Florey reminds us: “Most college students have never had to make a budget and stick to it, so be patient and willing to give advice. It takes time to get used to how much your student will spend. And be aware that the amount of money a parent spent while they were in college may be different!”

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