I realized after first semester of my first year of college that my high school graduation party fund was not gonna stretch quite as far as I thought it would. Between late night snack runs, social life, and the many, “oh you have to buy this for this class,” I realized I needed to learn how to save money and time. Apparently, taking 15 hours of credits requires at least 15 hours of studying a week. Coming from a high school experience where things came easily to me and homework could be finished in class to an experience where an hour and 15 minutes of class actually meant an hour and 15 minutes of class was a shock.
After major suffering of my bank account and GPA, I finally realized I needed to get serious about how to manage responsibility in college. While I’m not perfect at it and sometimes I forget about assignments, I learned a couple tips to keep things manageable.
1. Don’t get a credit card if you don’t have self control. I wish someone had told meekest this, because I had a professor encourage us to get a credit card to help build us credit. Well, I racked up at least $500 worth of debt by the end of my semester. While a credit card is great for emergencies or even buying gas a couple times a month, you should not carry your credit card casually in your wallet. Just don’t.
2. Save first, then spend. I always told myself when I got a deposit or paycheck that I would spend what I needed to and then put the rest in savings when I got my next check. Well my total amount of savings from this strategy was… $0! Now I always put at least $50 in my savings and $100 for a credit card payment (see point #1), then I’m free to spend whatever is left over.
3. Go to the library Monday – Thursday. I don’t care if you think you have no homework, go to the library at least for an hour during the weekdays (except for Friday Funday). Go and study, work ahead, or maybe fill out some internship applications. You’ll feel so much better about yourself and you will accomplish way more in the long-run.
4. Keep a list on your laptop, and maybe write one too. I am such a big planner girl, I love my planner, but I never use it how I should or I don’t have it when I need it. Laptops and phones come equipped with self-syncing list softwares, USE THEM. Having all my assignments and due dates on my laptop have helped me so much, and they are easy to update and change as necessary.
While I have not fully mastered time management or saving money, I am seeing improvement by following these four rules. Both of these skills are extremely important for the adult world, and college is the perfect time to start working on them. Good luck and happy managing!