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Surviving College: Decisions That Can Ruin Your Future Finances

Adulting begins the moment you start college. This is when you can finally make big decisions that can impact your life. You can apply for more jobs, legally own your first credit card and even choose from the colleges that accepted your application. You can choose among the many courses offered and live a more independent life. But like all good things, surviving college is never easy.

For instance, you need to choose one of the excellent schools for osteopathic medicine so that you can start chasing your dream. You will have to decide who will be your first credit card provider and how you will manage your debt. There is also a need to decide whether to move out of your home or to live in a dorm while you study in college.

If you don’t want to get a massive financial headache, choose to avoid the following mistakes.

Saying Yes to Plastic Temptations

Now that you are a college student, you will receive numerous credit card offers. For best results, only apply for a credit card if you feel it is necessary to get one. Remember that not all credit cards are created equal.

It is very easy to think that credit cards are an infinite source of cash. Your plan of only swiping your card when needed will not always work. This is especially true if you don’t monitor your spending and fail to pay your dues on time.

Before you choose a credit card provider, make sure to do some research. Check out the credit limits, interest fees, credit terms, and benefits. Don’t be fooled by plastics that offer low-interest rates but high late payment fees.

When choosing a financial institution, choose one that has the same values as yours. Now, some banks also practice social responsibility. With a bit of research, you can get a green credit card that offers great reward points and low rates for students like you.

It is recommended that you start you get in the habit of budgeting your allowance by using a prepaid card first. Load it with your income from your part-time job, money gifts from your loved ones, and student loan assistance. Choose to swipe your credit card only during emergencies and build your credit score to avoid racking up debt.

Paying for the Right Things the Wrong Way

You may be wise enough to only buy the things you need. But there are times when we pay for our needs the wrong way. Being frugal and wise when it comes to our spending will help you save more during your college years.

The following are some ways most college students pay for their needs the expensive way.

  • Going out to eat instead of packing their lunch and snacks
  • Getting an apartment when they can always live at home
  • Buying brand-new textbooks instead of buying the right second-hand book
  • Using a credit card to pay for essentials but forgetting to pay credit card debts on time
  • Renting an apartment but is unwilling to find someone to share the expenses with
  • Spending more on coffee shops instead of buying their own coffee maker
  • Paying for expensive health clubs instead of free alternatives
  • Blowing your budget on recreational activities when there are free and discounted events and facilities on campus
  • Not asking for student discounts before availing of a new product or service

With just a few changes in your spending habits, you can enjoy bigger savings. You can even enjoy freebies if you know where to look and if you just learn how to ask.

Skipping Work Opportunities While Studying

woman doing freelance work

Some college students don’t need to work. But there are lots of things you can gain from being a part-time working student than the extra cash and experience. Even with its fair share of cons, the perks of getting a part-time job while studying usually outweigh the drawbacks.

When studying while working-part-time, it is easy to feel tired after your shift. Your focus may no longer only be on your studies and you can end up missing out on fun times with your friends. Some are even ended up having second thoughts about finishing their degree since they managed to find a good-paying job that does not require a college diploma.

As for the pros, you can grow your network, meet friends outside your school bubble, and learn important life skills. Getting a job in line with your degree gives you a competitive edge while enhancing your resume. Plus, you get to pay your bills, save more money, and enjoy other ways to de-stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your studies.

These are but three examples of the biggest mistakes college students often make when handling their finances. Failure to avoid these things can lead to more debt and an early financial setback. Save more and spend less. Invest your time and energy in things that will help you gain more money, experience, and friends. Remember that every money decision you make today can have an impact on your future.

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