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5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Money In College

Does a college student budget mean you're broke?

Have you ever been in a situation and had a flashback to a time when you were living on a college student budget? Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Wow I wish I knew that 10 years ago?” The odds are you have. Whether it’s related to our career, our family, our relationship or our money, at some point we’ve all thought, “If I only knew then what I know now.”

If you could turn back the clock, what money advice would you give yourself when you were living on a college student budget?

Money Won’t Always Be Around

When you’re young you may take money for granted, but the truth is money may not always be around. Having a job and a paycheck is great, but, unfortunately, our livelihood is not guaranteed. It’s too bad that many people learned this first hand after the market crash. That’s why it’s important to save a portion of every paycheck, in case that rainy day brings a job loss.

Live, Breathe And Spend On A Budget

We don’t know it when we’re kids because we depend on our parents for things like food and shelter, but living on a budget is an essential part of adulthood. When we get older and start to fend for ourselves we can choose to buy expensive things that we can’t afford and end up in debt or we can spend wisely, live within our means and always keep some money in the bank. We would probably tell our younger selves to choose the second option.

Buying Stuff Won’t Make You Happy

When we’re living on a college student budget, nothing is affordable. When we enter the workforce full time, a regular paycheck can be very exciting, but with that comes the temptation to spend. Clothes and other materialistic things won’t make us happy. We may think they will and they can, but only temporarily. In the long run, a house full of stuff won’t make us happy, especially if excessive spending puts you in credit card debt.

Having A Credit Card Doesn’t Make You An Adult

Ah, yes, if we only knew that then. Applying for a credit card at 18 years old while living on a college student budget is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make, especially if they aren’t mature enough to realize just how much damage debt can really cause.

If teenagers want a credit card to start building a credit history, they should apply for a card with a very low limit to avoid temptation and learn good spending habits.

Don’t Depend On Someone Else For Your Retirement

It’s a shame that more people don’t start saving for retirement sooner. Maximize your retirement savings and take advantage of employer savings plans. This will help build a retirement nest egg so one day you can stop working and live comfortably.

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