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A few weeks ago, I was on my way back to college after a pretty unproductive spring break. I had an eight-page paper due the next day, but instead of writing it, there I was in the Denver Airport sitting next to a lady who kept showing me pictures of her daughter. I mean, yeah, the lady was super nice, and yeah, her daughter was super cute, but I was just trying to get through my twelve hour layover without losing my sanity. So while half-listening to this lady’s Boston accent, I stumbled around the Interwebz and found this cool guy’s awesome blog and his pretty comprehensive list of books recommended for students. I spent the rest of my twelve hour layover and my flight back to school reading e-books from personal investing to how to ace my classes. Although I pulled an all-nighter to finish that eight-page paper in time, I wouldn’t have spent my time reading those books in any other way. I learned vital things for a baby adult like me to know, which is why I recommend these books to you all. Let me tell you what they’re all about, and definitely check out the other books he recommends on that list!

Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents 

This how-to by Zac Bissonnette looks preeeetty sketchy at first glance. It almost looks like one of those weight loss books, with the standard sorta-attractive white person on the cover smiling like they’ve never had a problem in their perfect little life. Its slogan is even, “This book can save you more than $100,000,” so I can understand if you’re a bit cautious like I was — ugh, marketing. It’s creepy and sketch and is definitely trying to sell you something, but I recommend that every single student entering college should read this book. It can’t guarantee you a debt-free education for sure if you need a personal loan, but if you’re a careful reader — if you pick and choose the lessons you learn from what Bissonnette says saved him $100,000 — then you can actively apply them to your life and your college finances. This is extremely important for anyone whose parents don’t make seven figures a year or for anyone financing their education on their own. Before you begin college is the best time to start learning lessons about loans, debt, and how to get rid of it, since you probably didn’t learn about anything of the sort in high school (if you did, lucky you!). Read this book, and hopefully you’ll at least save a few bucks, right? I know I will.

Your Money: The Missing Manual

This “manual” by J.D. Roth isn’t college-student specific, but it’s still helpful for anyone who didn’t learn about taxes, loans, or things like how to manage debt in high school. This book will teach you about retirement and lots of things that seem far away but are really closer than you may think. Remember those 13-year-old kids you heard about already paying off houses and cars and owning businesses and stuff? Yup, they probably read a book like this when they were two.

Personal Investing: The Missing Manual

Despite the similar title, this book isn’t by the same author previously mentioned, and it definitely doesn’t cover the same information. This book is a guide to the very basics of investing. I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone just because not everyone is interested in investing and Wall Street and the stock market. (I certainly am not.) But if you’re a hopeful business or economics major, or even a to-be entrepreneur, then this knowledge will probably be something you should have sooner rather than later.

Granted, if you’re not sold on spending money to buy these books (since at least the first two, in my opinion, look like something you’d get in your spam folder of your email), then check them out at the library first. And even if these books are a bit too “get rich quick” scheme-y for you, check out similar books that suit your interests better! The important part is that you start researching this information before college. You’ll be grateful you did.

Do you have any books you’ve read relating to personal finance and how to navigate budgets? Tell us below!

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the author

Jasmine is a Computer Science major at Scripps College in sunny Claremont, California. Besides writing and editing for The Prospect, Jasmine works as a copy editor for [in]Visible Magazine, a writer for Persephone Magazine, and a communications intern for Whirlpool Corp. When she's not binge watching Grey's Anatomy, she enjoys not wearing shoes (no matter the weather), petting strangers' dogs, and jamming on her ukulele. She can be reached by email at

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