Regular HackCollege reader know that we’re big fans of financial responsibility. For college students, however, learning to budget and changing bad spending habits can be a struggle.

To help students learn more, I talked with the team behind Mint, one of the most popular money management tools, about personal finance in college and ways students can make smarter financial decisions.

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The main theme of the interview is saving, but I mention a lot of creative ways students can use use their skills to earn extra cash. Here’s a quick preview:

What are the biggest mistakes you think college students make with their money?

“The biggest mistakes would have to be eating out too often and making frivolous purchases. You can’t avoid eating out all the time, but if you’re serious about saving money, it’s time to go grocery shopping. And if you can barely pay your cell phone bill each month, it’s probably not a good idea to use your credit card to buy a new $60 video game.”

What advice do you have for creating a budget as a college student? What are some common/easy ways students can save money?

“HackCollege writers are constantly advising students to use Mint in order to keep up with spending habits and form realistic budgets. The easiest way to save money is to cut down on your small purchases. If you spend $5 each weekday on drinks and snacks outside your regular meals while running around campus, you’re taking a $100 chunk out of your bank account each month. Look for these sort of habits in your own budget and you’ll have a lot more cash to save for a rainy day or have fun with come this time next month.”

What are some little known or overlooked sources for finances? 

“The internet might not necessarily be an overlooked source for those with technical skills, but anyone can make extra money online with sites like Fiverr and Etsy. Fiverr allows anyone with a skill or talent to sell their services, while Etsy is a marketplace for anything and everything homemade. Nowadays, students have a lot more options for making money on the side; it’s just a matter of going out and finding the source.”

Full InterviewPersonal Finance Interview on Saving for College with Mark Frost |


Image: Don Buciak II