March is Spring break time, when thousands of college students head to warm climates for week of sun and fun. However you don't want to be carefree and footloose with your money. Here are some tips for smart spending:
1. Figure out how much money you have to spend during the trip so you know your budget.
2. Plan on using your debit card, or your credit card only if you know you can pay it off in full when you return. Students typically have very high credit card rates, and your trip can easily cost double or triple if you charge it and then pay it off in increments. For example if a $500 charge on a card with a 20 percent interest rate is paid off at $10 per month, the total cost will be $1,040.
3. Pack the hotel room – sleep as many as you can to a room, but be sure to check with hotel management before doing so. You want to adhere to their rules.
4. Buy your own food. Find a local grocery store and buy a cheap cooler to bring at least drinks and snacks with you during the day.
5. Limit alcohol consumption. This is not only for health and wellbeing purposes, but because those fruity drinks are very expensive.
6. Don't bring all your bank and credit cards. Bring only one card and keep very good care of it, along with your ID and/or passport.
7. Use ATMs sparingly. Most likely you will be paying a fee to use an out-of-network ATM machine. Take out enough money to last you 2-3 days to limit these fees.