Student Banking & Budgeting Tips

Start off banking as a college student on the right foot

As you head off to college, it's very possible that your only banking experience up until now was the special savings account you had as a kid that came with toys and treats when you reached your small savings goals. If that's the case, it's time to graduate to the next level of college student banking. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a student bank account, how to bank wisely and even review saving tips for students.

Pick the best bank for your needs

If possible, open a student bank account before you get to campus. It will be one less task to take care of during freshman orientation. To do this, figure out which banks have branches and ATMs near campus. Some may even be on campus. This will come in handy if you need to visit the bank to deposit or withdraw money, or if you want to get money from an ATM without paying fees. You should also make sure the bank you select offers convenient features, like:

  • Online banking
  • Mobile alerts
  • Paperless statements
  • Low fees
  • Special accounts and packages just for student banking

Open a student checking account

A good first account to have is a student checking account that offers the convenience and benefits you want. It's designed so you can easily perform transactions like withdrawals, deposits and transfers on a daily basis. If you get a campus job or your parents send you a little cash now and then, put that into checking rather than keeping it in your wallet to make sure it is secure.


To access your student checking account, you'll be given an ATM or debit card that you can use to make purchases. You can also write checks or even consider applying for a credit card. You'll also receive monthly statements, which can help you manage your spending.

Look for a student checking account with features you'll use

On top of paperless statements and an easy-to-use debit card, you should also look for a student bank account that comes with perks you can use. For example:

  • See if you can sign up for mobile alerts when your balance gets low.
  • Find out if the account makes you eligible for student discounts at places like restaurants or movie theaters.
  • Ask about cash back rewards.
  • Make sure you'll have 24/7 live support.

Open a savings account

One of the best saving tips for students is to start saving right away! Yes, even though you may not be making much money, you can still stash away some of what you have for a rainy day. What will you do if your computer dies, your bag finally rips in half, or you need to buy an extra expensive textbook? That's when you'll wish you had a little money saved.


Once you have your savings account open, you can easily transfer money from your checking account. And, if you have a steady enough income, you can set up automatic transfers from checking into savings. Even if it's only $5 per week, it will add up and could come in handy someday.

Start budgeting... a little at a time

Again, this is something you may not be thinking much about given your limited income. But, following some basic budgeting tips can help you avoid the stress of always being broke, or worse, going into debt. For example, avoid opening credit cards if you're not making any money. The temptation to max out a credit card can be too great. If you go to the movies a few times, make a trip to the mall, decide to go out to dinner with friends, and then buy the latest DVD or video game, pretty soon you've run up a bill you can't pay.


Another budgeting tip is to look for cheaper alternatives to planned activities. Look for coupons online or sign up for email discount lists so you can buy the things you want for less. There are plenty of discounts available just to students, so be sure you always have your student ID with you. Find more money saving tips for students here.

Get started with student banking at Citizens Bank

Whether you're an entering freshmen or a senior who's looking to get your finances in order, take advantage of our student banking options. It's easy to apply online and get your student checking account open today.