* apply for as many scholarships as you can. and, for the kids out there that have less than perfect grades, don't sweat it. there are scholarships for EVERYTHING.
* save your money! ( i know you want that gucci purse. i do too. but you can get a cute purse from target for like 13 bucks.)
* always make sure you're getting the best deal when it comes to university housing. if it's cheaper to live on campus, live on campus. if it's cheaper to live off campus, live off campus. (don't forget to factor in financial aid!)
* if you do live off campus, garage sales and goodwill should become your best friend. i know the couches are gross. that's why there is soap and water and nice clean (cheap!) sheets that work really well as couch covers.
* again, if you live off campus, brush your teeth in the shower.
* get yourself some stocks, a savings account (and try to put in 20 dollars a week--and don't touch it!), a checking account (for what you can spend. and try to get one w/ totally free checking. and no minimum balance. a lot of banks offer this to college students.), and a certificate of deposit (because many have good interest rates, and you can't touch it for whatever period of time you set it for, unless you want to pay a fee. this way you can save money and earn money for saving money).
* if your school offers it, get a meal plan. (and use it.)
* if you have to have a credit card, for some reason, make sure you always pay your credit card payments on time, or your interest rate WILL go up. if you don't (and it was a one time thing), call them and they can maybe lower it. It doesn't hurt to try. also, only use the card for emergencies.
* if you have a cell phone, and a local library (for off-campus students) don't bother getting the internet or a phone service at your apartment. it's one more bill you have to pay.
* make a budget. know what you can and cannot spend. make it realistic and STICK TO IT.
* keep one light on at a time, if you can.
* pay bills on time. don't wait.
* make sure you buy the things you truly truly need. (and remember, you need food and clothing. you do not need expensive food and clothing...)
* don't buy something you wont be able to take care of, or it's just too much work to handle. like a PET. Don't buy a pet if you can't handle it.
* Don't ever be embarrassed to work a job. Unless you're selling drugs or bootlegged cd's or being a prostitute, anything illegal, there is no job too degrading. If it helps you pay the bills, do it.
* If you have extra stuff, sell it. People will buy anything.
* Don't co-sign a loan w/ anyone, because if they screw up their credit, they screw up yours.
* and for apartments, always get one w/ someone you trust. make sure they have a good financial history and make sure they are reliable. you don't want to get screwed because they don't have enough money to pay rent. (My 2 roommates and I, to eliminate this problem, decided to keep all of our rent money -the whole years worth- in a savings account. that way, we'll always have the rent money)
* when you do get an apartment, look for one that is in a good neighborhood and has good quality. get what you're paying for. and, if possible, look for one that includes a utility in the rent. like mine is 775 a month (divided between three people) but that includes gas.