College presents students with a windfall of free money. You receive money to spend on whatever you need from your parents, sponsors or guardians. But because college is often a carefree environment, overspending is a likely to happen. However, it doesn’t always have to be like this! Students need to determine how to best take advantage of the opportunities and money that comes their way.

As you learned yourself (maybe the hard way), the spending habits you pick in college are more likely to extend into your career. Here are a few simple, straight forward money management tips to share wit your students:

Keep off credit cards
Simply put: credit cards are usually bad for you. Avoid credit cards as much as you can. There is always the temptation to buy what you can’t afford to buy now. When you borrow or buy goods with credit cards, some of them charge hefty penalties for maintenance, interest rates, accruing interests, etc. Instead, focus on living in your means and if possible, use paper cash unless you have to. Use the credit card for emergencies only.

Keep off nonacademic debt
It’s hard enough living debt-free. People often leave college with staggering debt. Let the cost of your education be the only debts you accrue in college.

Save and splurge
Don’t rush into making any large purchases. Take time to save. Continue until you have enough cash to buy the product in cash. You will be amazed, with the technology advances of today, you won’t even need it by the time you can afford it.

Pay your bills on time
Many people have a problem paying bills. They cultivate this behavior in college. Avoid being a statistic. Whenever you can, pay your bill on time. Paying bills on time, especially those which charge penalties for delays can help you learn to have a rich financial base later after school is done.

What advice to you give your students about money?

Emma Cecil writes tips and advices for students at Rate My Professor.

You love working with students and despise working with money. That’s why you’re a youth minister and not an investment banker. But you also know the fastest way to lose your job is to mismanage your church’s money. You’re doing the best job you can with the funds you’ve been given, but it’s easy to mess up without even thinking about it. These are the four most common money mistakes I see when I help youth workers manage their budgets:

1. Paying sales tax sometimes or all of the time. Depending on your state, as much as 7% of your budget could go to sales taxes if you’re not careful. It takes just a little bit of work on the front end to figure out tax-exempt systems, but after that, it’s a no-brainer to make sure you don’t pay what you don’t have to pay.

2. Being too optimistic when paying deposits or buying tickets. I know, it would be awesome if 80 students showed up for the Switchfoot concert, but if that’s never happened before, you can’t count on it. Don’t get stuck with forty extra tickets – that’s like setting $1,200 on fire.

3. Failing to negotiate totally negotiable prices. Imagine you ran a retreat center that was running far below capacity during the off-season. Would you rather rent your space at discounted price or not rent it at all? Can you imagine how many fundraisers you could cut if you asked for and received a 20% discount on your next big rental?

4. Focusing on saving pennies instead of making a few big wins. I know a guy who would call his volunteers to ask them to cut pizza coupons from the Sunday paper. It saved him a few dollars, but he would have saved hundreds of dollars and hours of time if he’d just called the pizza place and asked for a church, non-profit, or large group discount.

Now it’s your chance to be the teacher. What is one of the money mistakes you’ve made? How did you fix it?

Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations – things like managing money. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.