How to Ask Your Parents for Money

The last thing most newly independent college students want to do is ask their parents for money, but sometimes it seems like the only option. Knowing how to handle this financial situation can help improve your chances of getting the extra cash you want or need.

Keep this list of dos and don’ts in mind before approaching this touchy subject.

Do: Create a budget
A budget shows your parents that you're ready to take control of your finances. You can also use your money management skills to determine whether a shortfall is due to an unexpected expense or an expense that could have been avoided.

Don't: Blow your budget
Be aware of how much cash you have available. If the money runs out because you've spent recklessly, it could be a hard sell asking your parents for more.

Do: Prioritize your needs
Expenses like textbooks, groceries, or membership to a campus organization that will benefit your education are good reasons to ask for financial help.

Don't: Confuse wants with needs
If your budget includes money for hobbies and entertainment, don't ask for more cash to buy a concert ticket or the newest smartphone.

Do: Make a list
Think about the long-term benefits of your parents' investment. For example, if you need money to join a campus organization, make a list for your parents that explains how membership will benefit your education and help you achieve professional goals.

Don't: Overstep your limits
If your grades aren't quite up to par or your family's financial situation is insecure, it's probably not the best time to ask for extra cash.

Do: Offer to help
Offering to pay back extra money you receive shows that you value your parents' help. Discuss the possibilities of getting a job or doing a few household chores the next time you're home. You may be surprised how much cleaning the gutters or organizing the attic is worth.

Don't: Make it a habit
If you consistently come up short, it's time to evaluate your budget and your priorities. The more you ask for money for trivial things, the less likely you'll get money when you really need it. Honesty is the best policy. Paint the big picture for your parents and spell out where you’re spending, even if it involves admitting you’re spending outside your budget.

So what’s the trick to asking your parents for money? While it ultimately depends on your family, you can start by helping your parents understand that you’re managing your finances responsibly, and that the money you’re asking for will help you move forward to achieve your post-grad goals. With these tips, you'll be one step closer to proving you're worth the investment.

Still need extra cash? Here are some ways to save money while in college.