In my limited experience, there is only a relatively short window in one’s life where “Back to School” isn’t a thing.
I was in school, then college, and then it took me a few years to still not feel like I should get summer break and be starting new classes in the fall. That was about 24 years or so. From 24-34, I was pretty unaffected by Back to School, except that I always look for any reason to buy new clothes. But other than that, I was oblivious. And then kids. As soon as they barely even start to grow up, it starts all over. Only worse, because you have to pay for it all yourself!
There are a plethora of potential Back to School blog posts I could write but today I want to talk to the college students.
Listen Up, College Students!
(Before I get going, I hope you are using YNAB for free. Because we give YNAB to students for free, and you are crazy not to take us up on it.)
For many (most?) of you, money still doesn’t feel real. Either you are getting some from your parents, or you have some for about five minutes every time you get paid, or you are living off loans, that, well, I mean, you’ll worry about it later.
Except, if you don’t do this well, “later” will literally be THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Pull Your Head Out Of The Sand
Being in college isn’t a free pass to be an idiot with money. You are smart. You are getting an education. You want to be a responsible grown-up someday. So, right now, while you have limited funds (and limited responsibilities) figure out how to make the most of your money.
If you think about it, student loans are the only loans where you don’t know what the monthly payment will be at the time you borrow the money. You also don’t know the total amount you’re borrowing, since you’ll add to that debt each year while you’re in school.
If you take out a car loan, you know how much you’re borrowing and what the payments are when you drive off the lot. If you sign a mortgage, the same thing is true. You get all the info when they hand you the keys.
But with student loans, in most cases, you have no idea what is coming. And so you pretend that it is free money and move along. You are digging deeper and deeper into a hole that you will have to climb out of someday.
You Have More Control Than You Think
If you budget in college, it will not only improve your financial situation in the here and now but for the rest of your life.
It might feel like you are stuck. You have to take out loans, that is just your reality, so what is another couple thousand dollars at this point, right? Well, it will add years—literally years—to the time it will take you to pay it all back. So, every dollar matters.
By budgeting, and being aware of your money, you can hugely impact how far your money goes, how much debt you take on, and your financial success after college.
Don’t underestimate the power of awareness—it will radically change your relationship with money. Building the habit of prioritizing the best use of your money will unquestionably put you a step ahead of your fellow students.
We Will Show You How
No one expects you to show up on the first day of class and already know all the answers, and budgeting is no different. You probably don’t know how to do this yet—and that’s OK. We can help.
Not only will we give you YNAB for free while you are in school, we host live Q&A sessions to teach you everything you need to know!