When you’re off to college for the first time, your parents tell you to study hard, be safe, party responsibly and call at least once a week. But very few young people hear about the things they really need to know. Like finances. It’s a mystery as to why this doesn’t happen, because good money habits are incredibly important – and bad ones are exceptionally hard to break!
So what is that your parents should tell you about money that’s so important?
Pre-paid is the only way to go
If you have the choice to go pre-paid, you definitely should. From cell phones to electricity. It’s all about control – when you can control how much you spend, you can budget better. If you don’t see the money leaving your wallet, you won’t think twice about making an extra-long phone call or leaving the television on all hours of the day. You will be forced to think about it at the end of the month, however, when you get the bill!
Always ask for a student discount
You will be amazed at how much you can save with student discounts. Never forget to ask for it, even if it’s not advertised. You never know when someone will grant it to you.
Store cards are a no-no
As a student, you’ll frequently be without money. This makes store cards very attractive, because they enable you to afford material things which you would not have been able to buy otherwise. Swipe once too often though, and you’ll be in too much debt to handle before you know it. From there it’s a vicious cycle and one you’ll struggle to exit.
Avoid credit cards like the plague
Repeat over and over – cash is king. If you want something, but you can’t afford it cash, don’t buy it. Like store card debt, credit card debt accumulates very quickly. It’s just as hard to pay off as well. Rather save for what you want, or buy it second-hand.
Say you want a new computer. Don’t just buy one at the first shop you go to. Go to a couple of shops to compare prices and specials. By doing this, you’ll ensure that you get the best deal and the best price. There’s nothing worse than buying something at one shop and then seeing it at another shop for much cheaper two days later.
Lean on your friends
If a shop offers something in bulk, or a 2-for-1 special, ask a friend or friends to go in on the deal with you. You’ll all get what you want, but at a fraction of the normal price. Also check online for dinner and entertainment specials. You’ll get to live the life you want, but for much less.
Don’t spend it all
Don’t fall into the habit of living from one allowance to the next. You should start saving as early as possible. If you’re not disciplined enough, make use of your bank’s debit order facility to move the money to a savings account at the start of the month – before you have the chance to spend it. You’ll be thankful that you did when an emergency strikes or when you’re able to buy your first car yourself.
This information should see you get through college or university without a single cent of debt to your name. That’s how you want to enter your working years, because being a grown-up comes with more than enough stresses. Worrying about debt shouldn’t have to be one of them.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Terrence is a long-time writer and researcher, and loves to share information that makes a difference.