Your Checklist for Financial Independence

July 13, 2023

Whether you’re planning to start college soon or in a couple years, it’s never too early to begin building strong money management habits. Taking control of your finances now will help you create a bright financial future long after graduation. Use this checklist as your roadmap toward financial independence.  

Learn to budget
A good place to start on your road to financial independence is to learn how to create a budget. Determine what your expenses and income might be once you start college, or even now for practice. If you currently have a summer job, your expenses might include gas, cell phone, or car insurance. This will help them understand recurring payments and establish consistent, healthy money habits.

Start saving
Making saving a habit is one of the most important ways to establish financial security and independence. The easiest way to set aside money for your savings goals is to set up direct deposit so that funds from your paycheck are deposited into your account electronically. 

Many financial institutions offer sub-saver accounts that can be named based on specific savings goals. Certificates are also a great way to earn more on longer term savings goals, such as for a new car or an apartment. 

Open an emergency fund
Unplanned expenses can happen anytime, including parking tickets, car repairs, or a need to travel with friends or family on short notice. An emergency fund will help you to be more prepared to cover these costs without having to use high-interest rate credit cards. 

Set up a separate savings account for an emergency and add to it regularly. Remember, these funds should be used only for emergencies, and not for ongoing expenses. 

Automate bills and savings
The easiest life hack for achieving financial independence and making life simpler? Take advantage of online bill payment, which allows you to schedule your bill payments to automatically transfer from your financial institution or credit card. You won’t have to worry about missing payments since they will be paid on time for you. 

MSUFCU offers many perks for student members, including our Totally Green Checking account that features $0 monthly fee, $0 minimum balance requirement, and free Sparty Visa Debit Card; the lowest interest rate on our Platinum Plus Visa Credit Card featuring 1% cash back on all purchases; and free financial education with virtual and in-person events. For more information, visit

Tags: Savings, Money Management, Tips and Tricks