Being Financially Independent As A College Student

Being Financially Independent As A College Student

What I've learned and why I'm grateful

Budgeting and being aware of how to spend and save money can be difficult, especially when you are a young college student who is discovering what freedom and being independent is like for the first time. Not only is college expensive but as kids and teenagers most of us do not realize the high cost of our everyday essentials, entertainment and activities, so when we reach that independence its sometimes hard for us to have to spend all of our money on these things and for us to be a responsible adult.

At 18, I'm a financially independent college student. I've already started making payments towards my student loans, pay a portion of my phone bill, and pay for all of my sorority fees out of pocket. On top of this I am financially responsible for buying my everyday expenses, such as food, toiletry items, gas, etc. As a student at a large university who is very involved, it's sometimes difficult to have so much responsibility.

Having to be this independent isn't necessarily a bad thing though, in fact, I prefer it this way. I'm actually grateful my parents aren't paying for my college and that I have to be independent. I feel more prepared for when I graduate and am completly independent and have rent, bills and countless other expenses. I've also been able to grasp something many people my age and even older than I have not. The value of money and how to properly manage it.

I believe that this is so hard for most people to save and budget because we are constantly surrounded my temptation to spend money. Everywhere you go you're almost required to spend money and if not, there is always something catching you're eye that you know you don't need but you want. For me, the easiest way to fight that temptation is to write out my expenses, budget and savings plan and to constantly look at my finances as a reminder that there are more important things to be spending my money on.

I see so many of my peers go out and waste all of their money every week, while I choose save and work to pay for college while I am still a student. Many students now days take out loans knowing that they don't have to be paid off until after they graduate so they don't worry about all the money their spending. For me, I would rather be a broke college student that works all the time than be paying off my student loans for the next 20 years of my life.

While I made the decision to pay for my education while still a student, it is no easy task. I work most days in between my classes, which means I have to make sure I have enough time study and do any assignments. On top of school and work, I also have manitory events and meetings in my sorority.

All of this makes my life a little more stressful than the average college students. Regardless of the stress and the extra work though, I'm grateful for my financial independence and I feel that I am better prepared for the "real world" and for what ever life throws at me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What Should I Do?

There's not always a right or wrong choice


Theodore Roosevelt said, "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." Sometimes, there's a clear right and wrong when you're presented with a choice. Often, the right choice isn't the easiest one. But something I have been so challenged by in my young adult life is the need to make a decision when there isn't really a right or wrong in the scenario.

A lot of times we joke saying, "I don't like making decisions!" This can be about anything from where you should eat for dinner or what you should say back to your boss's text. If you're anything like me, you consult people. A lot. I ask my coworkers for scheduling advice like, "Should I run to the grocery store before my workout or after?" Not that I think there's anything wrong with this, but it made me realize how nervous and anxious I can be about simply being wrong.

I think the warning Theodore Roosevelt gives in the above quote is so important in our journey through life. There isn't always going to be a black and white answer when an issue arises. But teetering between two choices more often means not making a decision at all. Stagnation is promoted by fear.

The best way to get over the fear of making the wrong choice, is just to make a choice. As simple as it sounds, the wrong choice isn't always as scary as you think. Often times, it's meant to serve you as a learning experience. Even if the wrong choice is painful, not to be harsh, but such is life. You will get the opportunity to prove that you have learned from your mistakes or allow someone else to learn from you. The important thing to remember is that the worst choice is no choice at all. Don't be afraid to be wrong or to be a guide for someone else.

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