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FINDING THE RIGHT ACCOUNT

Many students open accounts where their parents bank. If you're going to a school out of state or in another city, you may want to bank in the same town where you go to school. If you are a member of a credit union, these organizations sometimes offer no- or low-fee accounts, although you may have to keep a minimum balance (usually $100 to $200). Check around before you open an account and find the best deal for your situation.

Many banks have special account offers for students. You might need to keep a small amount of money in it to keep the account open, but think of that as a forced savings plan. Reconcile and balance your account as soon as you get your statement, and, of course, as you write checks. (Reconciling your account means to compare the record you have in your check register with the bank's statement by identifying items that create a difference in the balances.) Many software programs, such as Quicken, can keep your account in order for you. But learn how to reconcile your account by yourself so you don't have to depend on a software program.

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