Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hometown Savings

Well, it's the end of July and in just a couple of weeks, it's back to campus. Maybe it's your first time on campus or maybe you've got another year to go, but now's the time to think about money. One of the best moves you can take to ease your mind is to set up a hometown savings account. The purpose of this account is to provide easy access to emergency cash. The days of mom and dad sending a check in the mail are long gone, however, banks do not have universal branches and wire transfers are expensive and take time. Let's face it, we all run out of money occasionally, and there are always unexpected expenses.

In the few weeks of summer that remain, take a ride down to your local bank, preferably the bank that your own (or your parents') accounts are already at. Set up a (joint) statement savings account and order a debit card with the student's name on it. You want a debit card that acts like a Mastercard or Visa. It's nice to know that whether it's for rent or medicine, you can have money to your student with a couple quick keystrokes online. No paperwork as with a wire, no wait time that you'd have sending a check and having to wait for it to clear. With a debit card, your student can access the funds at her local ATM or pick up a product at a store.

My daughter would take a larger balance out and deposit it into her own account so she would not be charged ATM fees by her bank if she used her home-town debit card to withdraw funds. The important thing is that the account is in place. The peace of mind that it can provide, knowing you can have money in an instant is priceless. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for us.

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