I suspect there are thousands of students like me who know absolutely nothing about money or how to manage it. So I asked my mother and other money-savvy baby boomers how to save money and think green. Although half of their advice flew right over my head (like, what is a 401K and how do I do this investment thing everyone is talking about?), I was able to pick up a few great tips:
• Do the math.
One of my mom’s money-saving tricks was to calculate how many hours she would have to work to pay for whatever one thing she wanted. If you’re getting paid minimum wage and it ends up taking you two or three 40-hour weeks to pay for that new purse or those season tickets, are they really worth it?
• Salary isn’t the only thing to look at when deciding on your job.
Benefits such as health care, sick/maternity leave, severance pay, etc. are worth a lot these days, and asking for that extra thousand dollars on your salary may not be as valuable as asking for better benefits.
• Know your boundaries.
I have been known by family and friends to have Champagne tastes (I’m talking Dom Perignon, people) on a beer (think PBR) budget. While I might get away with this now, it won’t last forever, and when the time comes to start paying my own bills it’ll be important to compromise. No recent grad needs to be buying designer labels instead of saving or paying off student loans.
• Remember that everything adds up.
There are so many things that I (and I’m sure many of my peers) forget you have to pay for. That iPhone costs a lot of money and those $1.99 apps won’t seem cheap when you’re the one paying for it. Car insurance is a pretty penny, too. Not to mention the license tag renewals, oil changes and gas that go hand in hand with having that car.
Amy Daire is a St. Pete native and rising senior at Florida State University. Since they don’t offer a major in binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, she settled for Editing, Writing and Media. When she isn’t bragging about how great the ’Noles are, you can find Amy in line at Chipotle or re-reading Harry Potter. She hates froyo, the Gators, and people who say carpe diem. If her plan to be the next Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t work out, she hopes to at least continue writing for anyone who will hire her.
My monetary role model, aka my mother, Barbara Daire, told me that she knew she was officially grown up when she started paying for all her own stuff and learning how to use money. I quickly realized that if that’s what it took to be a grownup, I’d be a kid forever.