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Money Mayhem!

Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Checking & Savings

Now that you are in college and have received funds from a job, financial aid, or family, where do you keep your money?

One of your first steps on campus should be to make sure that you have a bank and a checking account that is giving you the best deal.  

But what is the ‘best deal’?  Well, here are a few things you should look for…

  • Bank location
  • Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fees and locations
  • If a minimum daily balance is required
  • Monthly service fees
  • Internet access to view your balance and transactions
  • Online bill payments
  • Interest earned

Sometimes all of these items to consider can be confusing for students!

BOTTOM LINE: Shop around and find an account that meets your needs.  Come see us in Student Money Management Services, and we’ll make sure you find the best deal. 

What about Checks and Debit Cards?

You should never have to pay extra fees for these – and most banks will give you a first round of checks for free if you ask.  Here are some basic definitions:

Debit Card:  Functions much like a credit card, except it’s tied to your checking account, so this is money you have, and you won’t go into debt when you spend (you will with a credit card). 

Checking Account: A good place to keep $ for spending, not saving.  You’ll usually have some paper checks, you need to keep it balanced so you don’t overdraw it, most people use a debit card nowadays, instead of writing checks.

So what do I do if I have extra money? 

If you have extra money left over from your budget then you are doing great! When this happens we want to save that extra cash. We save for three things:


-Large Purchases


But I don't have any extra money. I can't afford to save..

What’s that you say?  You’re a college student, and you can’t afford to save??? You can’t afford not to!!!  What are you going to do if your car breaks down?  If you have a medical issue?  Or if your computer konks out?  Even if you think your parents would help – you still have to get in the habit of preparing for these sorts of things!

  • Most financial coaches recommend you work toward having 3-6 months of basic expenses tucked away in an emergency fund. 
  • You also want to save monthly amounts for large recurring expenses, such as car insurance, a new computer, or additional furniture. 
  • Lastly, it is never too early to start saving for retirement!  Again, it may sound out of reach, but don’t you think you could find $30 a month if you cut down a bit on coffee and entertainment?  If you can, you’ll be light years ahead when it comes time to retire!  Just check out this calculator if you don’t believe me: 


Opening a savings account is simple, and you can usually just do it at the bank that you use for a checking account.  Come see us to find info on the best accounts!

A retirement account can be a little more tricky – you’ll want to come see us to help you get that set up.

Key Point: The sooner you develop the savings habit, the better off you’ll be financially!

How can Student Money Management Services help?

SMMS can provide KU students with accurate information about checking and savings accounts in order to help them make the right choices.

We meet with students one-on-one to help educate, and work with you to find the best tool for you, and teach you how to use it.

also check out...
KU Financial Aid TV: Money Basics


Office Hours:
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The University of Kansas
300-B Kansas Union
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-1182
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