It’s not your fault you don’t know how to handle money matters. You can’t be blamed for not knowing what you weren’t taught. More than likely, your parents avoided talking about money management along with other uncomfortable adult subjects.
Since the best life lessons are learned through hard knocks, here are eight money tips that will ensure you experience college to the fullest, but that path could come along with debt, identity theft and a slew of other money headaches. You make the call.
1. Don’t have a spending plan. After all, honoring the budget will only cramp your style. You may kill your credit score, but think about what’s more important, owning a home someday or having an uninhibited college experience now? YOLO!
2. Don’t open up a local bank account (or one at a national bank like Charles Schwab that waives ATM fees) when you move to a new city. You’d only waste that extra $3 per withdrawal on lattes anyway, so why not just give it to your hometown bank?
3. Don’t pay attention to bank overdraft fees. Bankers are here to help you by offering this so-called additional service up to 10 times a day. Declining this feature, which charges an average of $30 per offense, only limits the service they provide. You’d probably just take your girlfriend to dinner or sponsor a child for a year. No doubt the bank will do the same with your money!
4. Don’t make a copy, scan or digital image of everything in your wallet. But if you do, don’t store it securely. Personal information is lost (or stolen) all the time on college campuses, and it’s a much more invigorating mental exercise to try to remember what was in your wallet before your information gets sold to identity thieves in Eastern Europe (or to Melissa McCarthy in a bad Jason Bateman movie).
5. Don’t worry about knowing your cellphone plan limits. Uploading 20 photos to Instagram and exceeding your data limit will all be worth it when you get a total of seven “likes” for the awkward picture of you from the 8th grade in a cool filter. #TBT #expensive
6. You should totally sign up for the credit card offering the free T-shirt. I’m sure it will look great on you after it shrinks to half its current size and you pack on your freshman 15.
7. Don’t plan ahead and buy your college textbooks online at a website like slugbooks.com. Consider your university’s shrinking endowment and do your part.
8. Don’t earn money over the summer. Summers are meant for taking it easy after your hectic college schedule, not for getting a job. If your parents are so excited to have you home again, let them continue to feed you and pay your bills. And who cares if you need to take some additional loans? That’s not your problem. That’s a problem for your 40-year-old self to worry about, which is a really, really long time from now.
Put the “fun” back in dysfunctional. You can learn how to make peace with your money another time, but why surrender so early?