The 3 Biggest Money Mistakes College Students Make

money mistakes college students makeThere is a weird dichotomy with college students.

On the one hand, collegians are very creative with saving money. I’ve seen fellow students survive on a food budget of $3 a day. One friend of mine even lived a whole semester rent-free by sleeping in his giant van and showering in the school gym!

On the other hand, college students are notorious for making basic financial mistakes. Part of it is inexperience, while another part of it is the realities of college life.

Here are three biggies that I see college students making over and over again.

Treating Credit Cards Like Free Money
Credit card companies love college students because college students tend to do exactly what credit card companies want them to do: rack up huge balances, pay the minimum payment and allow interest to balloon.

It’s a good idea to get a credit card while you are in college so you can build up your credit score. However, if you follow the pattern described above, then it will be counterproductive. You won’t build up a good credit score and you’ll start your adult life deep in the hole.

Eating Out a Lot
Eating out is a huge, unnecessary cost. Its appeal is obvious: You get instant gratification. On the other hand, you waste hundreds of dollars a month.

Save eating out for special occasions. Cook at home more and/or use the meal plan that you’ve already paid to use.

Laziness With Financial Aid

Many students take out far more loans than they have to because they’re lazy with financial aid. Instead of taking the time to research and apply for scholarships, they take the easy route and apply for easy student loans.

Taking time now to find financial aid will save you money and stress in the long-term.

These three mistakes may seem small, but if you’re like many college students, they’re costing you dearly. Set a budget and stay on top of your spending to avoid simple-but-costly mistakes like these — it will save you big in the long term.

Photo by COD Newsroom / CC-BY 2.0

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