Teach your college-bound kid to budget

LOS ANGELES Emily Yamanishi knows firsthand how much fun college can be, and how tempting it is to forget finances.

"In college, because there's that sense of freedom, kids can overspend," said Emily.

But Emily knew from the start that her parents couldn't pay for everything, so she found a job.

"When things got tight I had to pick up another job outside of that," said Emily.

Then she set up a budget and followed it. Certified Financial Planner Phil Cook says Emily learned a valuable life lesson early.

"The budget for a student is the holy grail that they must live with day in and day out. And if they don't, and they blow the budget, and miss two or three days of meals they'll probably take that lesson to heart," said Cook.

Cook points out it doesn't have to get that desperate if parents have "the money conversation" with their kids before college even starts.

"Make sure the child understands that the bank of mom and dad will be shutting down over the next few years and that they're going to have the responsibility of handling their own finances," said Cook.

Teach them how to make a budget. Experts suggest you and your college-bound kid go shopping together so they learn about smart buying. Encourage your child to avoid credit cards so they don't use what they don't have. If the plan is for the parent to chip in for things, like spending money or apartment rent, consider sending monthly checks instead of a lump sum to cover an entire semester.

"That way if there are any problems or issues, you can identify them early on and work to correct them," said Cook.

Emily, who is now a college graduate, has advice for students about to hit college campuses.

"You're not spending more than you can afford and you have to know how much you can afford," said Emily.

Cook says if parents start early with their children and set good examples on how to budget, spend and save, their child is very likely to learn and be smart with money too. In addition, many colleges and universities offer a debit card that students can only use on campus. Parents can place a spending limit on that card.

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