Everyone says that the best thing you can do in this economy is to stay in school. Upon first hearing it, it makes sense. While you're in school full-time, you don't need to worry about finding a full-time job with health insurance and other benefits. School is a chance to improve your skill set, to make yourself more marketable in better times. Above all, it buys you that last word: time.....
Yet everyone seems to forget one thing: school is expensive. Private school prices are through the roof and public schools are either hiking up their tuition or turning away a great deal of applicants (as everyone is applying to them now). Not to mention, bills don't stop just because of school. Landlords still expect rent, grocers still expect payment, and the Internet is certainly not free. On campus living is much more expensive than off and off-campus living requires sincere diligence. Even with scholarships, financial aid, and other support, education, while worthy, is still an investment. In short, as my father always says, TANSTAAFL, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
Due to these crazy economic times, I've decided to start learning to live on my own, while still in school. It sounds scary, but a bit of practice this summer has helped quell some of my fears. In addition, I've taken it upon myself to start learning how to budget. As I have done so, however, I've realized a lot of the financial mistakes I've made in the last year, simply because it was a skill I had not yet learned. At the same time, I've also realized how many of my peers really are not informed about money. Considering the decisions many college students make, whether it's spending too much on restaurants or taking out the equivalent of a mortgage before buying a house, it's frightening.
As a result, I will be writing more about money, possibly moving those posts onto another blog. I find it necessary and vital that young people, especially women (who fall into credit card debt and others more often) learn more about money. I wish I had learned more, but I'm glad for the chance to start. It means I'll be better prepared when I graduate. I hope others can be as well.