We’ve often been told that that saving money is one of the most important things that can be done at a young age. You have heard the old cliche that penny saved is a penny earned, and a bunch of other stuff like that. You’ve heard lectures about preparing for retirement, investing, paying off student loans, and taxes. We all agree that finance is critical to the future, but just how big of a role should it play in your life? Here’s our financial advice to you.
Thinking too much about what to do with your money can be depressing, and it can be really difficult to figure out how to satisfy both your expenses and luxuries. I have never looked at my bank statement and thought, “It appears I’ll have enough to pay all my bills and still have enough to fund my life-sized Mouse Trap board.” A more accurate thought to pass through the mind of a college student would be something like, “I’m sure my future kids will bail me out.” For your own sake, don’t spend hours stressing over how you are going to repay your loans or keep up with the rent and still have enough room in your budget for a night out and a new TV. Keep making your necessary payments and make the most of the available cash you have left over. That way, you won’t have the stress of worrying about how to pay for basic needs.
If you ever abstain from doing something you love in the name of money, you might need to rethink your financial path. If you completely give up going to the beach, camping, taking trips to the city, or whatever your favorite activity is in order to allocate your cash in investments or savings, then what are you really saving up for? If you can’t take a step back and enjoy life once in a while, then there isn’t much of a point in living it. If you can afford the bare necessities and manage to have a tiny bit of wiggle room, don’t be afraid to indulge in your pleasures every once in a while. It’s perfectly alright to cut back on your spending if you like, but don’t cut the things you enjoy out of your life.
In light of this, saving money can still be easy and efficient. Remember that putting away any amount of money for the future can literally pay off. Even if you save a mere $20 per week when you leave college, you would still have $41,600 (without interest) by the time you turn 65. Making small scale decisions in the present can yield large results in the future, regardless of how little you may think of it. Whether you go to a bank and open an account or buy a piggy bank and put some money every week in that, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is you save money.
Time and money won’t be a big deal if you can make simple long-term investments and manage to embrace your passions every so often. Even if you end up striking it rich, don’t let all those green portraits of Ben Franklin run your life (or silver engravings of George Washington’s head if you own an arcade). Always remember to chase after what you really want, not what Wall Street says you want.