Boulder, CO — Money may not equal happiness, but it can sure make life a lot easier. The thing is, money management can come hard to some — especially those who don’t have access to financial literacy. And for college freshmen, being on your own for the first time while learning how to handle finances can be stressful.
Here are some financial tips that will help you invest in yourself and save money.
Be careful about getting a credit card
Be careful about getting one at 18. Having a credit card of your own can seem like a great way to gain credit. But if you don't have a stable job to make payments, it can quickly become a burden. So if you do get a credit card, be mindful of your spending. One way to think about your card usage is to treat it like cash.
Take classes at a community college
Taking classes at a community college can help you save money. It can help you figure out what subjects you like — or don't like — without having to take the course at a four-year college.
And in some cases, the credits from community college classes can be applied towards your degree. Just make sure those credits will meet your specific university's degree requirements, general education requirements or electives.
Figure out what to invest your time and money in
In a way, how you spend your time in college is also how you spend your money. Being in a university is expensive. So make sure that you invest your time in the university wisely! Make sure to participate, study for classes and get involved in different activities so you get a good return on your investment.
Don't be afraid to say, “this isn’t for me,” while doing things. It's fine to change your interests, but try to find a class or activity that supports your interests. The time and money you spend during college is something you won't get back.
Because many students have things that they would have done differently if they could, some of the biggest regrets relate to their major, not studying enough or not pursuing internships and mentorships. So make sure you invest your time at the university wisely, because like it or not time is money.
Set financial boundaries
If your friend wants to go grab a coffee, but you're on a tight budget, you can always say no. Or you can offer a different suggestion. There are plenty of fun, free activities. So if you can't spend money on a cup of coffee, offer to do those alternatives instead. Some free or cheaper things you can do are going on a hike, cooking together or going on a walk around campus.
In case you have not already thought about it, a lot of movie theaters and stores offer student discounts. Make sure to bring your student ID next time you go to the store because it could be a great way to save money. In fact, here are some places that offer student discounts.