College Finance: Splurging in a Healthy Way

Being in college has taught me how to be smart financially. Instead of buying the pair of cute leather boots I see at the mall, I put aside the money I would use to buy them so that I can afford next semester’s textbooks. If you’re like me and are unemployed, then saving money is the key to surviving college.

There have been plenty of times when I have forgone buying something I really wanted so that I could afford the things that I needed. My biggest fear of buying something that I wanted is that the money spent would be needed at a later time, and since I don’t want to ever be in that situation I stop myself from buying a new book, nail polish, or whatever else it is that I’d want when I’m out shopping with my friends or online.

I’m not, in any way, saying that saving your money and making smart choices with how you spend it is bad. Because it’s not. It’s good to think about how you’re spending your finances, especially if you have don’t have a steady income and can’t always ask your parent(s) for money. But it isn’t good to stress yourself over spending money on things that you want, especially if you’re the kind of person who can refrain from going on a shopping spree.

You are a college student. You spend most of your time doing homework and studying and waking up early for class. That might not seem like much to people with full-time jobs, but college is hard and it takes up a good amount of your time. It is also, as many of you know from experience, very stressful at times, which is why I think that everyone deserves to treat themselves once in a while. It doesn’t – and shouldn’t necessarily – have to be every week. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve stuck strictly to cafeteria food. Why not purposefully save up for a nice dinner and take yourself out for a special treat once a month? Maybe you haven’t gotten a new pair of pants in a while or you really want some new jewelry for an upcoming interview – whatever it is that you want, save up specifically for that item or experience, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself to it!

You can still be smart about how much you spend. Maybe choose something from the clearance rack at the mall instead of something that is extremely expensive. If you have come this far without splurging and you put enough aside for a special treat, then buying one thing might not hurt you. Focus on getting something that you have been wanting for the longest time but you just didn’t let yourself buy it because you needed to do laundry or buy textbooks instead.

There will be a time when you’re going to have to choose necessities over what you want. But that time might not necessarily be right now, so treat yourself when you can and still be smart about the things that you buy. In my opinion, that is part of being financially smart. Again, don’t stress yourself out over saving money. I have done that many times and it’s not fun. So, I hope after you finish reading this, you’ll be inspired to go buy what you’ve always wanted (within reason, of course). You might not realize it until much later but occasionally purchasing things that are not college related is a necessity too.

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