By NATHAN GARDNER
The subject of personal finance often seems dull, and maybe a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of reasons to take charge of your finances while you’re still in college. In the below list, we will explore a few of those reasons and you will be neither bored nor scared. Or maybe you will. You will have already read the list though, so… #sorrynotsorry?
- If you don’t want to live with your parents forever…
You may think that having a college degree and being 22 years old will stop your parents from nagging you about moving back home after you graduate, but you would be wrong. If you’d like to maintain your newfound independence after graduating, it is vital that you start paying attention to your finances now. Independence does not come cheap and it isn’t always easy. There’s more to it than just getting a job to make money. If you haven’t started establishing credit, it will be much harder to find a place to rent and, when you finally do, it will cost you a lot more money. Often, you will be charged a higher deposit in order to secure a lease or to have your utilities and electricity turned on. The sooner you start planning and get your finances in order, the easier and less stressful it will be to take this step. Your credit will be in good shape so your application won’t be declined, and you’ll have enough in savings to afford all of the various fees and deposits. Plus, you’ll want furniture, pots and pans, towels, and all of the other assorted home necessities.
- Spring break can be WAY better if you aren’t broke
Living in Tampa, we are lucky to be close to one of the biggest spring break destinations in the world. Still, a 45 minute drive to Clearwater Beach, followed by another 45 minutes stuck in traffic looking for a parking spot, is no one’s idea of fun. Then, once you finally get on the beach, all the best spots are taken and you’re forced to sit way in the back near the creepy old guy who set up his lawn chair so he’d have a good view of the showers. And, as if that’s not bad enough, now you’re stuck fighting your way back through that same traffic to get home – and who’s the designated driver? Although having a DD is very important, no one likes pulling that short straw. If only you had paid better attention to your finances and could afford to get a hotel on the beach…
- Avoid spending your summer breaks back home
It’s understandable that you miss your friends and family and want to go back to see them. Do that. But don’t get trapped into sitting around on your parent’s couch or just hanging out with your friends. “I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of,” Louis C.K. once said.” Get your finances on track now and you will be able to take a two-month backpacking trip through Europe (as I did in 2014), fly to some remote island, or whatever other trip it is that excites you. You will never remember the 30 minutes a week you spent working on your finances, but you will never forget all the things that little bit of extra work helped you to experience.
- Reduce stress, be happier
Seventy percent of students feel stressed about their finances, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Ohio State University. This number could be greatly reduced if students prioritized their finances appropriately. It is stressful to be broke, or not know where you stand financially, because both of these things can lead to more severe consequences, such as: bad credit from missed payments, high overdraft fees, or an inability to pay an unexpected expense. Your car could break down, your professor could surprise you with a list of three new books you need to have for class, or you could find out that Rihanna will be coming to town (Amalie Arena, Mar. 13, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.- you’re welcome). Being able to cover these expenses without taking a hit to your financial stability will give you a sense of satisfaction and pride, to say nothing of the stress and humiliation you would feel at having to listen to Rihanna on your headphones while all your friends get to go and pay homage as proper members of the RihanNavy.
- Hangovers are – ever so slightly – more bearable
Nothing pairs with a hangover after a big night out quite like the crippling fear of what your bank account may look like. I would never suggest that you should overdo it with alcohol (or spending), but these things do happen from time to time, even if we normally try to avoid it. If you are on top of your finances and have been saving money, it will be much harder for drunk you to sabotage your life and do any real damage. Do your hungover self a favor, and make sure your finances are in order before you go out. Of course, if you make getting blackout drunk a part of your regular routine, your problems go farther than just finances. But hey, at least AA is free.
There are a ton of other great reasons to start paying attention to how you handle money. It can be daunting at first but, once you do it, you’ll be glad you did.