At long last — after having spent a thousand nights awake to maintain that high GPA, working your body overtime to be a head athlete, or restraining yourself from lashing out at a rude customer at your part-time job — you find that you have enough money for college! Congratulations, you will not have to resort to sawing off your limbs to buy an Anatomy and Physiology book.
Now comes the next phase of affording college: going about maintaining your precious money — is it worth working a part-time job even though you have a full ride? Should you splurge after acing that calculus test? Perhaps, and perhaps not.
Divide your money.
You should always know what you have to buy and how much you need to spend. The goal of dividing the money is to ensure you have enough money to survive the month without flaw. While dividing your money, think of your bank account as a multitude of pockets: one pocket should have about $600 for boarding, another pocket should hold $1,500 for basic needs such as food, and another pocket should be the emergency pocket. Keep about $500 in that pocket. If you (miraculously) save some money, you should most likely put that money into next month’s pocket to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Work hard and then harder.
Even if your Pulitzer Prize-worthy essay won you a full ride scholarship, the sad truth is that money doesn’t last forever. Sure, college will take four years, but even after school, you might be wandering down the streets for months just get an internship — if you aren’t going to graduate school, that is. However much money is in your bank account, it doesn’t hurt to hold a part-time job. There’s nothing wrong with a future astrophysicist serving burritos at Chipotle or an aspiring artist serving overpriced coffee to a rude customer at Starbucks — you should literally work your hardest to reduce the stress of being financially secure between the time you take your first math test and the moment you hear the wonderful words, “You’re hired.”
Beg and borrow.
The goal of having money is to keep as much of it as possible. That translates to: Don’t splurge $367 worth of new clothes when you need to buy that Music Appreciation book you will need in order to read the preface and bibliography notes! While the thought of resorting to such a measure is cringe-worthy to some, living off borrowed books, materials, and yes, even clothes, is a good way to secure your bank account. Get familiar with older students who are nice enough to pass on their used textbooks to a little frosh like you. And hey, maybe those cute shorts your sister wore three years ago might look cute on you! Maybe, but at least they’re free!
All things in life might not be free, but it doesn’t cost anything to work towards investing on money for college!