Lessons About Money You Will Learn in College

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

Today I have a guest post from Julian who blogs at  Frugaal, an online stock and forex broker comparison website. Julian runs the blog over at Frugaal and writes about a host of different topics to do with personal finance and frugality.

When you move to college it’s likely to be (or have been) the first time you’ve left home and the watchful eye of your parents. But when you enter this unchartered territory of freedom, you’ll also find you suddenly have the responsibility of taking care of your money and finances for the first time too. Of course, everyone’s financial set up differs somewhat both before and when they’re at college, but for the vast majority of people college means taking control of at least a large amount of their spending. This can be daunting at first, but it can also teach you a few valuable financial life lessons:

You Have to Spend Money on Things You Don’t Want to

Before you went to college your parents might have given you a few dollars here and there to go and buy a video game or whatever else, but they would have taken care of all the boring stuff: the gas that keeps your house warm, the electricity that keeps your TV running, and the food that you ate. But when you get to college you’ll (again, depending on your precise situation) have to spend money on rent, food, and things like shower gel too which use to magically appear again in the bathroom each time they ran out when you lived at home. You’ll also be burdened with the task of paying for things like overpriced textbooks when you’re at college. None of these things are items you’d choose to spend your money on if you had a choice. But that’s the lesson here, sometimes there isn’t a choice, and we have to buy and pay for things just to get by in life.

Relationships and Money Interfere with each Other

When you get to college you might find a friend in your dorm runs out of money and asks to borrow some of yours. You might then find it takes a lot of asking and nagging before you get that money back, too. And then, you might find that you end up falling out over the whole saga and losing a friend. You might also find that you end up spending money on nights out or football games just because your mates are going and you feel like you ought to as well. Alternatively, you might end up moving into a house with other students that live an expensive lifestyle, and that expensive lifestyle might rub off on you. The point is that you’ll meet and come into contact with a lot of new people at college, and your money will interfere with your new relationships, and your new relationships will interfere with your money. This is another inevitable part of life which is often largely unavoidable.

You Only Have So Much Money

Whether you have to eat nothing but ramen noodles and toast for a week, or whether you have to put your social life on hold to pay back the loan you took from your parents a few months ago, college will teach you that you only have so much money to spend, and that once it is gone, it’s gone. When you’re at college, the responsibility of managing your money wisely and appropriately is, largely, down to you, and that will be the case for the rest of your life.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

Yeah it’s a cliché, but it’s also a financial lesson you’ll find is true for at least a lot of the time when you’re at college. Some of the best memories you’ll have will be of the trivial mishaps and humorous moments you had with your mates when you were messing about in your dorm or around campus; the hard-earned victory you got with your sports team; or that sweet moment of walking out of your last exam after what seemed like an eternity in the library. All of these things can’t be bought with money.


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5 thoughts on “Lessons About Money You Will Learn in College

  1. I learned how to budget by living on my summer earnings. I had to juggle and additional earnings to survive. It was a great real life lesson.
    krantcents recently posted..How Is Chess like Life?My Profile


    Julian Reply:

    @krantcents, Yeah I used my summer earnings to spend at college too which definitely helped me appreciate the value of money. A lot of people I knew worked at college in term time and did it that way which can also be a good way of going about things. Either way, I think it’s essential to not come out of college having not earned at least some of the money you’ve been spending there.


  2. These are great real-life lessons. None of which are taught in college. So as a parent it is a good idea to make sure your kids learn these lessons by managing their own money. The sooner you learn where money comes from, how to get it, and how to manage it, the better!
    Kris recently posted..Is buying & selling stuff on craigslist really safe?My Profile


    Julian Reply:

    @Kris, I’d really agree with you that it’s important to learn these sort of financial lessons as soon as possible in life. I’d say college is a good place to learn about money, even if you’re not taught directly. But having to do chores around the house, for example, for an allowance is also a good way to teach your kids from an early age about money too.


  3. I completely agree with your last point. Money does not buy happiness, as an investor I can tell you with 100% certainty that the best investment I have ever made was investing time into building relationships. Happiness in life is built on relationships not wealth and it costs nothing to be and to have a good friend.


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