During this time of year, thousands of college students across the country are celebrating spring break. Yet, the reality is many students are using their refunds from student loans to enjoy this season. As a college student, you are not realizing that the trips you are taking with your refund, and clothes you are buying must be paid back with interest upon graduation. Therefore, it is critical that students begin to live within their means and understand the financial implications of their decisions.
When I was attending college, I saw many students living above their means to fit in. It is understood that college can be very intimidating, yet do not risk going broke just to turn up and show off on social media. Wanting to feel as financially affluent as other students seem can cause you to do unnecessary things with your refund and savings accounts. Therefore, do not succumb to your environment and understand the bigger picture.
The money that you are spending to have fun during spring break, maybe the money you need to survive upon your return to school. No matter who you are or what your parents do, everyone needs to set some form of a budget and adjust their lifestyle to adhere to that. As a result, be sure to immerse yourself in your studies much more than the social aspects around you.
Materialistic items and trips are not going to help you excel, rather distract you from the task at hand. At the end of the day, you are in college to learn. So, you do not to prove to others you have swag! Moreover, living within your means is critical to your financial security as these years will establish the habits of how you will manage money in the future. Therefore, before you take this trip, ask yourself, are you spring broke?
If you are spring broke, here are some things you can do to utilize your time:
- Utilize college-funded spring break programs: These programs are free and typically involve community service activities in other states. Therefore, follow up with your schools Student Life & Activities Department.
- Visit family and friends: Reconnect and create new memories. This will allow you to have a good time and save money.
- Research scholarships: Prepare for the upcoming school year by researching and applying to scholarships.
- Apply to summer internships: Summer is quickly approaching, so apply to summer internships to gain professional experience within your field of study.
- Work out: Do fitness activities to remain healthy.
- Sleep: Utilize this time to charge up for the remainder of your spring semester.
Jessica Brown, CEO of College Gurl, has been helping students, parents, and guardians successfully navigate the seas of financial aid at post-secondary institutions as a financial aid administrator at various universities. She is also the author of How to Pay for College When You’re Broke. For more information on College Gurl, please visit www.collegegurl.com or follow College Gurl on Instagram and Twitter @collegegurljb.