Once you set foot on your college campus, people are quick to let you know how important it is to develop healthy eating habits and solid study habits. But, what about great financial habits? When it comes to learning to manage your money, we firmly believe “the earlier, the better.” Set yourself up for success while still in college and you’ll be on the right track by the time you graduate.
6 Financial Habits to Have in College
1. Save first, spend later.
Lots of people (and we mean LOTS) struggle with this, so it’s important to start developing this habit early. It’s tempting to spend your money first and then save whatever is left over, but you’ll end up limiting how much you save this way. Instead, pay your bills first, contribute to your savings, and then use a little on yourself.
In the words of Warren Buffet, “Do not save what is left over after spending, but spend what is left over after saving.”
2. Understand that just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should buy it.
Funnel your money toward occasional, planned, or necessary purchases. For example, if your laptop moves slower than a tortoise and you have the money for a new one, this might be a wise purchase to make. Try to avoid splurging on something new and unnecessary every week just because you feel the urge.
3. Track your spending.
The easiest way to stay on top of your finances? Track where you money is going. Regularly take a look at what you’ve been spending your money on and see where you can make cuts or spend more effectively. You might not realize how much your small, daily purchases add up to.
4. Pay your bills on time, every time.
This sounds obvious, but it’s so important. Why pay late fees or additional interest charges when they can be avoided…just by paying a bill on time? You never know when an unexpected expense may arise, so make sure everything else is taken care of when it’s supposed to be.
5. Save for retirement.
We know, we know – “Retirement?! But I’m only 20 years old!”
The thing is, the earlier you start storing away funds for your future, the better. Plus, the sooner you develop the habit, the easier it is to stick to it.
6. Understand that money doesn’t equal happiness.
This might be the single most significant habit to develop. Yes, it’s important to stay on top of your finances and be responsible with your money. However, don’t tie your happiness or well-being to being rich or spending large amounts.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, so keep working on these habits every day.
This article originally appeared on The College Juice, powered by Barnes & Noble College.