When I was in high school, I always heard people refer to “broke college students.” Broke was a term I liked to use when my checking account was running a little low (but my savings were more than fine). Then I got to college. And messed up.
I didn’t want to say no to anything, so I was always going to dinner, going out, online shopping (I can’t say no to myself either apparently), and buying coffee. I didn’t have a job freshman year, so I was literally living off my savings. If only I could go back in time and kick myself. Sophomore year I got a job because my savings were pretty much non-existent at this point. But working part-time at a minimum wage job didn’t do much to sustain the lifestyle I had going. That’s when I really learned what people mean by “broke college student.” I finally got myself back on track and am starting to save up again, but I wish I would’ve been smart enough to realize earlier how dumb I was being.
If you have the time, find a job. I promise there is nothing better than receiving that paycheck and knowing it will cover your weekend shenanigans. If you have some money saved right now, don’t blow it all. Make a budget and allow yourself a certain amount every week for certain luxuries. I do this now, and it’s made all the difference. I promise you don’t ever want to be that person who says to their friends “I can’t go to Chipotle, I literally have 32 cents” (I’m not proud to admit it but I did utter that sentence at one point).
Lucky for me my friends are the best and were super understanding. They even took pity on me and loaned me a few times so I didn’t have to miss out. But I still feel guilty about it and wish I never would’ve gotten myself there in the first place. If you have money or your parents provide you any spending money you need, consider volunteering. There are far too many people who are quite literally broke, and not just my middle-class-can-ask-my-parents-for-help, broke. Help out at a homeless shelter, volunteer at a food pantry, anything. I find that reminding myself how lucky I truly am and realizing how much worse others have it puts a lot into perspective. I also found that being responsible from the beginning would’ve saved me a lot of stress!