Money 101:
Getting Organized

Being organized will save you time and stress—and make it easier to focus on your studies. Usually, the key to getting organized is having the right container. This doesn't mean spending a lot of money. You can buy an inexpensive file box or file folders at an office supply store—or even a used office furniture store. Even labeled shoe boxes could work.

Next, make separate folders for the following:

  • College Money. Into this folder place financial aid paperwork, grant and scholarship award letters, loan papers, and notes related to financial aid research. Also keep records of phone calls with financial aid experts or loan officers (include name, telephone number, date, and topic discussed). This folder is for paperwork— not for cash.
  • Bank or Credit Union Account. Put your monthly statements into this folder.
  • Loan/Credit Card. Put monthly statements, signed agreements, and loan terms into this folder.
  • Equipment. Place warranties and receipts for any major purchases, such as a computer or appliance, into this folder.
  • Taxes. Put your past tax returns, W-2s, and any paperwork about income in this folder.
  • Course Work. In this folder, place your course requirements to graduate, grades, etc.

Many of these papers list sensitive information, such as your Social Security number, bank account number, etc. and could make you a target for identity theft. Make sure you keep your file in a secure place. If you live in a dorm, lock up these important papers.