IOUs are cool until you’re up to your eyes in debt. In college, credit is like handing a child a bucket full of candy and being told to eat it “responsibly.” Yeah, not going to happen, especially since panties at Victoria Secret are 5 for $26 and I have a $250 credit limit. All of a sudden I’m looking like a VS Brand Ambassador.
During my college career, having extra money to buy clothes seemed ideal. However, every time it was time to pay the minimum $25 a month, I found paying for other things to be more important. Now, my mail looks like this
- Each time you get paid, pay all your bills first. If you’re a freshman living in the dorms, you don’t have many bills to worry about. So buy your toiletries and groceries first, pretend thats a bill.
- Commit to saving $10 each time you get paid. Set a quota that you have to reach before you spend any of it.
- Stay in for dinner. Hanging out with friends at Applebee’s on Friday night is great, but if you know you don’t have the extra cash don’t go. Cook dinner instead, propose a potluck style friend night.
- DON’T SIGN UP FOR STORE SPECIFIC CREDIT! I cannot stress this enough. If shopping at VS or The Limited (for example) isn’t a necessity, you don’t need their credit card. You can’t use their credit for gas to get home on the weekends.
- Use Cash. Remember being a kid and not owning a debit card. We weren’t swipe happy. We always knew how much money we had, because it was right there. No login necessary. Go back to those habits. Take out enough cash and leave your card at home. Once you’re out you’re out.
Budgeting is hard, but so is calculus and chemistry and all the other class you have to put effort into to pass. I know you can do this! Spend smart!