Those of us who are blessed enough to have support from our parents really notice how much this matters in our college years. We are solely responsible for making sure if our tuition is getting paid, and books are being bought. And if it’s not then they might suspend you from choosing classes next semester.
This is when we realize how accountable we are for paying for our education (thanks America!)
That being said, the ideal route after college is to become financially independent from your parents and make a living to support yourself. After all, it’s been 18+ years of your parents paying for your life it’s about time we take care of them, or at least take away the responsibility of taking care of our financial needs.
Get a job in college
I think this is a very valuable and responsible thing to do for yourself while in college. Some people may be thinking, “no way I don’t have time for a job I’m too busy studying and trying to have a social life” I get it. BUT having a job while also managing studying for school teaches you so much about time management, deadlines, and scheduling/ planning.
This isn’t something that someone can tell you exactly what to do and you just do it. It’s something that you have to figure out on your own since everyone is different.
And yes you may have to miss out on some nights of partying, but this is another lesson you’ll learn: FOMO is overrated. After about my second year of partying and not missing out on any nights out, I realized most nights are the same. It’s the same people doing the same things in the same places.
Yes it’s okay to go out and enjoy your college years, I’m just saying that when it comes ot thinking long term, having multiple responsibilities and skipping some nights out for sure prepares you for what real life will be like after college.
Not to mention extra spending money to shop, travel and buy nice gifts for friends/ family!
Plan out how much college will cost in total for each semester
If your parents have a college fund for you or if you don’t have to worry about paying tuition every semester then consider yourself #blessed! I personally had to take out student loans for college so getting my tuition and books paid every semester was my responsibility. But just like any other college student, I still wanted to have the full college experience.
To me that meant joining a sorority for my first two and a half years and studying abroad in Europe my last semester of college.Although I was only in a sorority for my first two years of college, I was able to meet my best friend for life and for that I am forever grateful. But it to a point in the beginning of my Junior year that I realized how much this membership was draining me financially.
I finally sat down and wrote down all of my expenses that I had my past two years, and my expected expenses for the rest of my college years. Doing this simple yet very effective task allowed me to be realistic with my current budget.
I weighed out the pros and cons, and I decided that it made since for me both financially and because of change of interests to end my membership with my sorority. After ending my membership, I had extra money to shop, more money for drinks, and more money to travel!
There is no excuse for anyone not to save, but if you do the actions above (getting a job, and planning a budget) then you have no excuse not to save!
Personally, my mom sent me a couple of hundred dollars every month for spending. Because I took out student loans that covered all my tuition/books and part of my living, I was set on that expect. So I would take my “allowance” from her and put it in my savings. Even if I had to move money around, (more often than not when I realized how much I spent at the bar the night before) just having your money in your savings is a great start to building up your wealth.
This may seem so easy and simple, but you don’t even realize how much that extra $1,00 or whatever you saved can help after you graduate. Remember, you might not even get an allowance from your parents after graduating. Save what you can now!
Start researching jobs ASAP
My business professors engraved in me how important networking was as a Business major and this stuck with me and now I will pass it along. I was encouraged to attend our career fair as a Sophomore, and although this gave me major anxiety I’m really glad that I did it.
It pushes you way out of your comfort zone, and helps you practice navigating through this big, scary adult world. You practice delivering an elevator speech, giving a good handshake, thinking quickly while under pressure, and exchanging business cards. All things that you will likely do again in the future.
This is also a great resource to explore the kinds of jobs that are looking for college graduates. It’s important to start looking early so you can start brainstorming ideas of where your degree can take you after college.
If you can, do the mock interviews, and go on interviews if they request it. This is only practice for the real world and even if you don’t take the job it will no doubt help you experience what an interview will feel like.
All of the things above require effort and an early start into adulthood… but if you’re looking to become financially independent after college, you have to start preparing for that even before you graduate. If you can get an internship your Sophomore year, do it! If you like working online, sign up on sites like Peopleperhour and Upwork where you can work short term projects virtually!
Being financially independent from my mom has been challenging, and scary at times. But it has been so rewarded to know that my mom raised me well enough that I don’t have to lean on her financially, and that I will get to a point that she can lean on me if needed. Becoming financially independent= adulting!