One of the greatest post-graduation fears is fighting off this crippling debt built up over the past four years (if you’re lucky to have made it out that quickly) thanks to student loans and other college expenses. I will be the first to point out that I found myself in a fortunate financial situation with the support of an academic scholarship and parents who made pursuing a degree possible for me. While they still plan on providing support as I crawl into the big girl job market, I can’t help but feel that it is now my responsibility to take this weight off of their shoulders. After graduation on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s time to be an adult. A real one.
Friends of mine have been adults for years already. They’ve taken care of their own expenses in terms of tuition, bills, rent, groceries, car payments, etc. I admire these friends. With this responsibility comes a great level of maturity that I hope to acquire in the next year or so. I was told by a complete stranger that I’ll learn more about myself in the six months after I graduate than I will ever again. With his lingering advice, I decided that now would be the best time to examine my lifestyle and figure out what sort of budget works for me.
“One of the biggest reasons we often don’t achieve or make progress on our money goals is that they’re not our own.”
It’s true, isn’t it? Who knows what we need better than ourselves? In an age of internet lists with tips on surviving your twenties both socially and financially, we oftentimes get caught up in needs of the general population rather than what we need today. Identity is important socially and financially – don’t let something so generalized minimize the individuality of your spending and saving.
After reading another article about women who met their savings goals in order to accomplish certain personal goals, it dawned on me that a goal and a plan are what it takes to make things happen. Some wanted to travel, some wanted to ensure they had money set aside for retirement someday – whatever your money goal is, make it about you and not what society would expect from of a person your age. If paying off student loans is a money goal of yours for the time being, then make your saving about your student loans. If it’s not, make your money goals about your interests. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to save your own money.
Paying my own bills is a money goal of mine for the summer. As I look for part-time jobs and internships in order to meet this goal and start making progress in my career, I know I will be challenged as I budget and examine my financial lifestyle. I’m surrounded by friends whose money goals are wildly different from mine and friends who are just working to make ends meet. Through them, I hope to gain an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom when it comes to budgeting and getting creative with purchases.
Check back for the penny-pinching opportunities I find as I work to reach my money goals and feel free to share yours as well!