Nine Habits from College that will Suck the Life out of your Wallet
In The 9 Habits You Develop In College That Will Haunt Your Wallet, Maggie McGrath at Forbes talks about some real money drains, in other words how to just flush money directly down the toilet, especially if you rely on credit cards.
First off, the article doesn't mention a couple things: 1) set a budget and stick to it, and 2) use CASH whenever possible. Relying on plastic just makes it too easy to do the following nine BAD habits:
1. Eating in the dining hall for every meal. Well, this should read "Eating in the dining hall for every meal AFTER your meal plan has run out." Granted there isn't a gigantic kitchen in the dorms, but, heck, Top Ramen was invented for college students, wasn't it? If you have a freezer, get stuff you can nuke.
2. Late-night bingeing. Studying at 2:00 a.m.? Need some brain food? Avoid those late night binges for pizza, or whatever. Again, keep some food in your place. Think of having a case of, yes, you guessed it, Top Ramen.
3. Stretching deadlines. Even though your professor may extend your deadlines, the credit card company won't and those late fees add up fast.
4. Procrastinating - and then cramming. We're not talking about papers and exams here. If you know you are going to fly home after finals week, buy the ticket at the beginning of the semester...it is sooooo much cheaper; up to two and three times as cheap.
5. Over-sharing. Who needs to know what you ate for breakfast? Quit sharing all your info on social media. In fact, 1 out of 5 identity theft complaints comes from college students. Identity theft can keep you from a job, a home, a car, or any kind of credit.
6. Relying on a magical money tree. Their name is usually mom and dad. Often college students are not responsible or even a part of their own finances. Now, that's a scary thought. Let me ask you this: have you ever done your own tax return? The real world is coming and you should be thinking about helping out your mom and dad pretty soon.
7. Making one-time exceptions. Oh, the thrill of the European spring break, the concert to end all concerts, the year-end party. Just say no, you can't afford it. Who wants to pay for that concert for the next five years?
8. Mixing up the pennies and the pounds. Since college students don't have a lot of money they tend to be frugal on the 50 inch flat screen tv (just say no, your roommates will destroy it anyway) and overspend on the small things. Seriously, do you really need a $4.00 cup of coffee from Starbucks every day? Get an electric kettle.
9. Not looking at the big picture and/or factoring in little costs. Living in a dorm? You don't know how lucky you are. No cable, PG&E, water, garbage - or it was all factored in to your dorm cost, but once you leave school you have to pay for all those incidentals and they add up. Your rent is only a small portion of the monthly bills adults have to pay.
What are you guilty of? What suggestions could you give college students to avoid acquiring these nasty financial habits?