We learn a lot of lessons in college. These include time management skills, life skills, plus we learn skills that can help us in our career. But whether you realize it or not, college also teaches money lessons. Here are seven lessons you'll learn while in school.
As a broke college student, you have to be careful with your money. You may only have a few bucks each week for food, gas and other necessities. You're likely to overspend without a budget. Some people don't like the B-word, but if you learn how to budget at a young age it'll be easier to budget your money once you leave college and enter the real world.
2. Free is Always Better
While living at home, maybe you spent your money however you wanted. But now that you're beginning your adult life, you have to compare prices and look for deals. As a college student, you'll learn that free is always better. There are so many ways to score free deals on clothes, entertainment and books. The goal is making your money stretch as far as possible.
3. You Can't Keep up with Everyone
You'll meet people from different parts of the country and from different financial backgrounds. And if you try to keep up with everyone on campus, you'll fail. This is a valuable lesson because once you enter the work world, your coworkers may earn more than you, drive nicer cars and take better vacations. If you learn early that you can't always be the top-dog or enjoy the same lifestyle as others, it'll be easier to adjust and fit in with different social groups as you become older.
4. Don't Go Overboard with Loans
Most college students receive federal and private student loans. It takes the average college student between 15 and 30 years to pay off a student loan. If you switch majors multiple times, or take unnecessary classes, you actually add to your student loan. This means you'll graduate with a ton of student debt. But at the same time, this experience can help you make smarter loan decisions in the future.
5. Credit Cards Aren't Your Friend
Some college students think they need a credit card, but unless you're committed to good credit habits, don't apply. Credit card debt can accumulate faster than you think, and it can take years to pay off balances. While you're paying off balances, you'll pay a ton of interest. Wait until you're out of school to get your first credit card if possible, or if you get a credit card, always pay off the balance in full every month.
6. Now's the Time to save
You might not be thinking about building your savings account, but if you think about it – this is the perfect time. Right now, you may have few monthly expenses and a lot of disposable income if you have a job. Once you graduate, buy a house, buy a car and start a family, it'll be harder to save money. Now's the time to put aside the majority of your income so you can build a nice rainy day fund.
7. Life Isn't Cheap
Before college, your parents might have given everything to you on a silver platter. And from your perspective, earning a living wasn't too hard. But as a college student working and trying to juggle your studies and your personal life, you might gain a newfound appreciation for your parents. For the first time you may understand the work it took to put a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back.
College is the time when most young people grow up and begin their adult life. But it's also a time to learn valuable life lessons. What are other money lessons we learn while in college?