Oh, College! How I loved thee and hated thee. All the experiences (good and horrible) my non-collegiate friends missed out on were definitely worth it. But, you College, you didn’t teach me many of the finer points while I was there. Sure, you taught me incredible amounts about the world and it’s inhabitants. But College, you also taught me about beer pong and credit cards (also the good and bad of such). But College, it all comes down to one thing unfortunately and the worst of all…You taught me how to f*** myself over.
Through high school, I didn’t have much debt. I made around $600 a month and just had a $100 car payment for my trusty old Baby Blue Bronco 2, gas, and car insurance which, for some reason, was $180 a month. I didn’t need much, but I did spend what I had going to social events with my friends. Not such a big deal when my expenses were under $400 a month. I was financially stable and breaking even which is all I personally ask of any high schooler.
Then I entered college….
Here are my Top 9 Ways I F***** Myself Over in College:
- Bought My Pop’s Year Old Ford Ranger – My dad wanted his mid-life crisis toy. It was (and still is) an ugly looking PT Cruiser. To get that toy, he would have to get rid of or trade in his Ford Ranger he purchased brand spanking new a year earlier. This is where I came in. I bought it from my dad, but not with cash. CREDIT…kind of. My parents kept the truck in their name and I paid them. There was about $11k left owed on it, I think, and I should have had it paid for in 1-2 years tops. Nope….how about 4 years. I was greedy and wanted “something reliable and decent looking”. What I actually wanted was not to be laughed at driving a $1000 piece o’ junk. Looking back, wish I would have gone with the clunker.
- Got My First Credit Card – I bought a Sony Cybershot 7.2 megapixel digital camera at Best Buy. My credit limit was for only $500 and I paid it off within weeks, but what it did was turn me into a vampire. I had the taste of blood and wanted MORE MORE MORE. That first credit card was definitely the lowest balance I ever had, but it was probably the worst credit card because it opened the flood gates to thoughts of STUFF.
- Hello Alcohol…Can I Be Your Friend?! – I didn’t become an alcoholic. At least, I don’t think I did. But if you and I could go back and look at the money I spent on alkie in college, you would have thought so. I have nothing against alcohol. I do have something against allowing myself to have available cash or credit when drinking. More on that later…
- Wanted to Be Cool – I am one who doesn’t want to miss out on experiences. I love taking trips and seeing new and exciting things. Things that cost moo-la. Well, I tried to work full time, go to school full time, and see everything the rest of the time. I did so and it cost me. Having to buy the expensive flight to get home in time for a class or work always set me back a few bucks. Also, I wanted to show everyone that I was cool enough to handle all my responsibilities and take these trips too. Dumb idea, I now know. I wish I wanted to be more of a loser in college. Would have saved me a ton.
- You Want to Give Me More Credit…Sure – My second and third cards were total wastes. I could not even tell you what I wasted it on except one purchase which was an all-in-one printer that I used all of one time. Other than that, I have nothing to show for a couple thousand dollars of credit card debt. I really can’t blame anyone but myself for accepting more credit line.
- I’m 21…Now I Can Spend More on Alkie – I went out when I turned 21 and rounds were on me. Actually, it was more towards the age of 22 when most of my other friends turned 21. I loved starting a tab and rarely cared about how much went on it. I wish I wasn’t allowed into bars while I was in college. My liver and my wallet would have loved me much more.
- Australia…You Put Me Down Under Financially - I loved every part of my voyage to Aussie. It made me who I am today. But, I spent about $1500 American in the last two weeks of the trip mainly on alcohol and gifts. All of my excursions were already paid for and food was all I really needed to buy. I blew a ton of money, but had an amazing time doing it. I half regret this. It sucked coming back stateside after 6 weeks of not working and being broke. But some things are worth it.
- Girls…. - I was trying to think of a witty tag line for the ladies, but pretty much every guy gets the drift from the one word ‘Girls’. I never had a girlfriend which ended up being more expensive. Between dinner dates, meeting girls at parties and bars, and general spending to show a girl a good time or impress her, I spent a lot of money on GIRLS. This one could also be a flip of the coin pro and con, but there were definitely some better financial ways I could have approached the tandem of Girls + Me.
- Reading Financial Management Books, Not Implementing – I read each and every financial book I could get my hands on. It would motivate me until the next time I went out aka 10 hours later. Let me show you how poorly I managed my money in college with some rough figures….Earned $13,000 my freshman year of college, $19,000 my sophomore year, $28,000 my junior year, and $29,000 my senior year (all gross figures). What did I leave college with? A college degree, some good times, and$3,000 in credit card debt. How’s that for financial planning?!
College was great to me in a lot of ways. I don’t regret going to college in any way. I do regret my decision making while there. I know I could have come away from college with at least $15,000 after my tuition, living expenses, and other necessities. That money would have really set me up once out of college. Luckily, I have learned from those mistakes and I wasn’t too bad off.
So, I f***** myself over in college. I am the better man today for learning from my mistakes. Hopefully, this will help you or a family member or a friend who is going to be going to or currently is in college learn from my mistakes and leave college with a degree in one hand and a hefty savings in the other.
Did you f*** yourself over in some way while in college? Share your story by clicking here to comment.
Have a good one…