I have some experience on this topic, but only learned these lessons from my own experiences, and hearing others opinions about what comes after graduating from college. I have been in college for 8 years and lived in a residence hall for 10 years. I have also worked at a college for 5 years. I do not claim to know everything, but this is what my path has shown me.
1. Only get credit cards for cash back, not to use for actual credit
You should not be in debt from credit cards! Let’s repeat that one again: Don’t get yourself into credit card debt. Chances are that you’ll be dealing with enough school debt by the time you are done with your college career. You might think you deserve that new apple product and new clothes for your freshman year. Yes, if that is on top of your wish list you should have it. But if spending time with your friends and traveling over spring break is where you would like to spend your money, maybe you should think of another brand and save your money for other things.
2. Have an Emergency Fund
Have a threshold amount of what you would like to keep for emergency. During my undergraduate years, I had a $2,000 threshold. Once I got to this amount, I would start to spend more money on clothes, the movies, and trips. If I was below this amount, I would be cheap in areas but still have a good time in college. This amount then went to $10,00 when I got out of college. Think of it as, If you lost your job would you feel comfortable for a little while until you got another one. Now that I own a house, my threshold is higher. When I talk about an emergency fund this does not mean your credit limit on your credit card.
3. Don’t compare yourself to Other College Students
You may see other students who have nice things: tvs, cars, and nice clothes to name a few. But you never know how they received them. Maybe their father died and they inherited some money. Maybe their new tv is on a credit card with 16% interest each month. Or maybe they saved all of high school to buy something when they went to college. These things can be deceiving. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal… (Matthew 6:19-21) The car will get old, and there will be a new TV model out in the next couple months.
4. Think before Buying an Inexpensive Car
A car is expensive! Buying the car, the interest on the loan, insurance, gas, government fees, oil changes, new tires. Try not to spend too much of your financial income in this area. Wouldn’t you rather go on trips with your friends then a nice car that will depreciate? I hope you can afford both someday, but when graduating from college you just need a reliable vehicle to get you to your new job. You may not even need a car with the amount of public transportation available. Research the public transportation because you may find more than you think even in a rural or suburban area. My husband and I managed to do without a vehicle for our entire undergraduate careers without too much difficulty while being 2 to 3 hours away from family.
5. Decide Who Will Pay for What in a Relationship
Decide how each person in the relationship will pay for things. One way to pay for dates is to each pay every other time. Talk about this to the person you are in a relationship with so it does not cause tension in your relationship later. Think about if co-signing for a cell phone or car together is a good idea. Buying stuff may not be the way to fix a broken relationship. Money doesn’t buy love so be rational about your money situation and if the relationship is meant to be, the other person will respect that.
6. Don’t Spend too Much Money to Start Your Life Together on Your Wedding Day
You met the person of your dreams. You want to show everyone the joining of your marriage. Have an amazing time on this day. Have a budget in mind before you start this process. Don’t go over it. There are many deals that can be made in this area. You don’t want to start off your married life in debt. Don’t go into this exciting new time in a negative financial position. Debt can be an extreme stress on a relationship.
7. Figure out a Budget
When you graduate your parents are most likely going to consider you fully an adult, which means they expect you to move on with life and begin your own household. The first thing to do is figure out a budget. Write down all your current expenses, estimated expenses, and also try to budget for fun money. When you have figured this out, also figure out what you will earn. Try to make sure you keep a budget, whether it be taking money out of a bank and putting in an envelope, having different bank accounts, etc. It is important to stick to a budget so you don’t get in over your head. My father once offered me the advice that if you get a raise put it into savings. You lived without it before and you can live without it now. You’ll never know when that added cash will come in handy or be a life saver. -J. Tang, College Graduate
8. Be a Good Steward of Stuff
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with a lot. Luke 16:10. You may think you don’t have much as a college student. But you are balancing many things at once. Even if you only have $200 in a bank account, this number may be $200,000 one day. A small hole can sink a big ship. Make it a goal to understand how to spend the small amount you have now, so when you graduate you have a better understanding of how to spend the money and time after landing your dream job.
9. Choose a Major Where you Can at Least Get a Job Out of College
Using Art in my example is where I will go with this since my Mom is a crafter. She makes a good living accomplishing her passions. She did not go to college for this area even though she could have. If she did she would have to pay back student loans which would make her profits lower or non-existent. Others may tell you different in this area, you may just want to go after you passions. This has worked for others, but going to college with a major that pays the bills led me to other passions.
10. Have Big Dreams and Then Go After Them
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). If you really want that job, it will be there for you. Maybe not in the location of the time frame you wan it, but work at it and you will find it!
11. Don’t Waste Time Thinking about What You Are Going to Write About
Don’t waste your time thinking about topics that you will write about. Just start writing the first thing that you think about. The point of the project that you are going is probably to learn something. Not to waste your time thinking about what you are going to write about.
12. “Find a Mentor”
You may hear people say this phrase. While you may not find someone who will call themselves a mentor, try to surround yourself with people that have what you want. Being in the company of people who think like you do is very important to your growth.
13. Your Advisor
Don’t always trust your advisor about classes/scheduling. It’s your job to figure out what classes to take not his!
14. Make study Friends
Doing work and preparing for a test in a group is so much easier and definitely more fun. D. Grandinetti, College Graduate
15. Make Friends
The friend you meet in college will be people you get to have experiences with in the future. Where do you see yourself after you graduate? You probably have an image of your dream job in mind. But what will you do after work and for vacation? The people you meet in college will bring you many fun experiences in the future. Maybe a cruise with all of your friends? Maybe a wedding in Vegas? You can try to ignore these people but they will come back in your life. Maybe when you least expect it but need it the most! These people will make your life interesting.
16. Get involved with Everything You Can
After college you may get an apartment near your first job or move back in with your parents. There will not be floor meetings or fire drills. There won’t be any planned activities either. Most of the people that live around you will not be your age. College is the time to take advantage of all the free activities that someone else planned for you.
17. Keep Dating Until You Find Your Significant Other
There are many types of dating methods. One is to date many people until you find the one that you would like to spend the rest of your life with. You may have to go on dates with many different people to understand the one that is right for you. Each experience you have with each partner will help you understand who you want it your life.
There are so many things to do with a group of friends. Traveling out of the town that you are living is one way to connect with the outside world. Do some research online before you go to get an idea of what to do. Find deals. For example, you can go to Niagra Falls Canada for the night in the winter. Four or six of you can share a room for a great rate.