Money, money, money. To have it and to misuse it puts such a huge burden on our futures as much as our wallets. We think sometimes that with college comes a little more freedom. But didn’t that overused Spider-Man quote tell us we gotta be responsible, too? That’s why we listed a bunch of these common financial literacy mistakes people—even us!—make.
It’s perfectly alright to make money mishaps. But these are the ones you should avoid, because they could literally cost you big time!
Going out just because your friends do
Rule #1: Don’t let your spending get out of control. And this can usually happen when your social life overtakes your student budget. Don’t get us wrong—we’re not telling y’all to stay at home. College is the best time to befriend people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Spend your time having fun, but spend your money responsibly, too. Try not to adapt the same cash habits your friends have, especially if they’re impulsive shoppers or eat on the pricier side of town. One workaround is to suggest budget-friendly hangout spaces. Or make new traditions—there are many ways to chill with your friends for free.
Failing to create a budget plan
Lots of students go all out on the freedom they get in college. So much so, they neglect or forget to keep a budget. Let’s face it though, budgeting is hard. It’s about discipline and can sometimes feel restricting, but it doesn’t have to suck!
We’ve got this 30-day money saving challenge you can try, for starters. Or check out this budget tracker to help you score treats at budget stops. Even better, we’ve got a budget bingo card to help you get started on figuring out how to correct your financial literacy mistakes!
Knowing where your money goes will keep you out of trouble in the long run. And hey, maybe you’ll be able to save up and treat yourself, too!
Sleeping on a savings account
When you’ve got a budget plan together, or even some money set on the side, don’t leave it idling in your wallet. You’ll just be tempted to spend it. Bank it! Set up a savings account. You never know when you’ll run into an emergency. Plus, nothing feels more #adult than having an ATM card and seeing your account balance move.
Got one already? Do yourself one better. Invest. There are different options: stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. And we’ve got a basic guide to investing that you can easily follow right here.
Time is literally money when you’re in college. Each hour of class reflects on tuition statements. On a more practical note, you’re more likely to spend on a meal or drink if you skip class since you treat these extra pockets of time like breaks. Going to class reduces the likelihood of failing, repeating, and having to pay for those units again as well.
Forgetting about all the student discounts and deals
This is your last chance to score student deals—especially with necessities like transportation fares! For one, there’s a special Beep card for students that’ll automatically apply a discount to your commuting fares. Grab has a student discount—and hey, even Spotify Premium, too. Another tip? Shop at your university bookstore for supplies, they’re usually discounted there.
Enjoy heading to museums, galleries, and cultural spaces for (almost) free as well. Some spaces give either discounted fees, let you in for free, or give you free tours so do your research and explore!
Choosing the wrong school—or choosing a school for the wrong reasons
You might have a dream school already in mind. And we’re totally behind you achieving that goal! But one mistake students make is “shopping” for schools with emotions first and rationality second. Knowing which schools are within your means is half the battle already. Find out which ones are within your family’s college budget. Don’t forget, it’s not just tuition but other fees like books and supplies, lab fees, transportation, accommodation, among others.
One other thing is choosing a school that doesn’t specialize in the course you really want. In other words, you should get what you pay for. Research schools that are known for your field of study so you get your money’s worth.
Again, don’t worry—see if you can qualify for a scholarship. You’ll never know ‘til you try!
Not taking the chance to search for scholarships
There are many kinds of scholarships to fit different situations. You don’t just have to be a high achieving student or athlete—though this definitely increases your likelihood of acceptance. Treat the scholarship hunt like a real job. Spend as much time looking for the best opportunities. If there’s even a remote chance you can get it, go for it.
Plus, Edukasyon has a whole page on our platform dedicated to helping deserving students find scholarships to give you better opportunities! Don’t think it’s worth your time? Scholarships can cover your tuition from a 25% discount to a fully paid deal. You’ve got nothing to lose and all to gain!