First Person: My Biggest Financial Mistakes in College

Yahoo Contributor Network

Your college years can make a huge financial impact on your first years of living on your own. The last thing graduates want is to rely on their parents, but these days it is becoming far too ordinary. There are many mistakes that account for this problem and I wish I would've known, or practiced them when I was in college. Here are my top financial mistakes in college.

Credit cards

Who would want to give a broke college student a credit card? Surprisingly enough, too many creditors! I always heard that credit card companies prey on college students, and now I know this is true. While the additional funds were nice, the high interest rates were a killer for me. The other not-so-fun part of owning credit cards was the payments on top of student loan payments. If I could go back in time, I would not touch a credit card until later on in life, if then.

Living the "college" life

Looking back on my college years I realize that I spent way too much money! My friends and I were constantly shopping, going out to eat, going to movies, tanning, and the list I'm sure goes on. While food was a necessity, I could have cooked at home instead. And while I won't say I should've cut out every fun activity, I definitely should have made it a rare occurrence. I don't have a sum of the amount wasted, but I'm sure it was staggering. Trust me, your future will thank you for your frugality in college.

Not taking a job that allowed me to study

For some of my college years I was serving tables because it was fast money, but it was time consuming when it came to fitting in school work. I also held retail jobs for the discount and barely took home a paycheck. Looking back, I wish I had just stuck to a minimum wage job that would have allowed me to do homework as well as work. It would have allowed me to multi-task, and essentially give me more time to work. The best jobs for college students are receptionist jobs that approve studying in between phone calls and work duties.

Not putting away savings

This goes for any age, but I am haunted by my finance class that taught me to start saving in college. The amount it could be today, in 10 years, or 50 is hard to swallow. Investing in retirement is important, and I don't want to end up scrambling later on in life. I probably couldn't have put back a standard $100, but $20-$50 here and there instead of going to see the movie of the week would have put my retirement funds in a much better position than they are now.

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