Mar 17 2010

Throw Away the How-To Guide and Learn from Experience

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This guest post was provided by Brittany at SavvyStudent.com, a site that helps students discover ways to pay for their college education with private student loans and other resources. They also provide information regarding alternative ways to celebrate college, so students don’t have to think about a private college loan.

Being not even halfway through my college career, I know that there is much to learn in terms of saving, spending, budgeting and so on. But so far the experience has been far greater than the logistics of what a book can teach me on financial lessons. Some would beg to differ, but I choose to stay firm in this belief. I’m an English major, not an accounting guru. Yet the knowledge and skills I have acquired over time has been more beneficial because I have experienced the hands-on emotions, lessons and trials of being in debt, and paying off that debt.

I’ve learned that money well earned is money well spent. Being a full-time student with a social life and personal life is enough. But adding a job on top of that can be overwhelming at times. And it is during those times of struggle to keep up that I learn to prioritize my savings.

I would like to say that I am a very intentional person, but since balancing several different aspects of life during college, I have learned that spending money that isn’t going towards practical purposes is detrimental; as if I am losing the benefits I’ve worked so hard for. Having a job has taught me to value the things I consume, and I have become more aware as a consumer in what items I purchase and where I purchase them.

Having a job has taught me to value my education more than, I would argue, not having a job while in college. Because I am paying for my own tuition added along with federal, private, and university student loans, grants and scholarships, I am more thankful for what I am learning.

I am not so aware that I calculate how much each hour of a course is costing me, but I am aware that having a job is leading me to a further understanding of the world through academics, and that is invaluable. It’s invaluable because the fact of knowing and achieving goals through the knowledge attained during these college years and beyond is worth more than attaining a certain wage or high-profile position in the business world.

I’ve learned to be conscious, but not worry, about the money I am spending on tuition.
Yes, thousands of dollars are being spent for me to partake in a core curriculum, some classes of which I will never open my mind to again. Yet thousands of dollars more are digging a hole for the classes being taken that actually do go towards my major. But I am convinced that living in the present, focusing on discipline and diligence will be enough to worry about.

Though I would not suggest worrying, for it only brings more issues. So for the time being I have learned to be content with the debt I am descending into. And is that an unaware way to live? Should I be focusing on paying off debt right NOW that I already have? I think there is a time and place to pay off debt, which is after graduation. It should be constantly be in the back of our minds, but we shouldn’t let it prevent us from getting the most out of the tuition dollars we are paying whether that be now or later.

Overall, my experience that is still in ever-flowing movement is teaching me about financial responsibility, and it’s preparing me for my future in paying off student loans. I am learning through raw experience of work, school and personal life that being financially responsible is most beneficial when coming from personal experience as opposed to something that is taught through a book or brochure on how to be financially successful.

Note from Kacie: Thanks, Brittany! You mentioned that you haven’t calculated how much each course costs. I did that once, and I was floored! It was something like $100 per class (for a twice weekly class). It provided more motivation to attend and get something out of it, even if it was a beautiful day out and I’d rather go for a walk, or if it was 4 degrees and I’d rather not go anywhere.


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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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