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best financial move in college - meme

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I’ve seen a lot of people writing about the silly things that they did in college, like take out approximately a gazillion pounds worth of student loans, or take out a credit card so they could get a (sadly, uncool)
free t-shirt.

I don’t think students are always that dumb. In particular, I don’t think you were that dumb when you were a student, so I want to know what your best financial move was in college. What did you do then, that has stood you in good stead in the rest of your adult life.

It doesn’t have to be a financial thing in itself, as long as it’s something that has helped you develop and maintain a great financial position now.

I’m tagging Mrs. Micah, Cash Money Life, Rocket Finance and Remodeling this Life to answer me in their blogs, and to tag more people.

If you don’t have a blog, then please leave your best move in the comments - I want to hear them all.

Image by Matthias Rosenkranz

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24 comments for “best financial move in college - meme”

  1. Oh boy I have a lot:

    -Quit architecture for quantity surveying (that one has the potential to keep paying off for a long time).
    -Went to college in Dublin and lived at home, most of the time.
    -Worked summers and Xmases in NYC (met the husband and made the contacts that got me where I am today).
    -Worked a night job (bartending) even though I didn’t have any fees. I left college, even with all my travels and untold thousands spent on booze, with no debt and several thousand in the bank; thereby freeing myself to move out to the states at my leisure.

    I may stick this on my little blog later.

    Posted by guinness416 | April 21, 2008, 1:07 pm
  2. Without a doubt, my best college move was to become a resident assistant my sophomore year (the first year I could do it) and continue to work the job in exchange for free room and board for the rest of my college career. It wasn’t all fun–lots of work and a lot of restrictions as far as “acceptable behavior” went, but it saved me $5,000 a year, $20,000 altogether.

    Posted by Becca | April 21, 2008, 4:06 pm
  3. A few things:

    - Went to an in-state public school that offered me a near-full scholarship
    - Interned at Microsoft, who then offered me a high-paying full-time position
    - Started reading personal finance books and blogs

    I graduate in a few weeks, but I feel like I’m in good shape with my financial literacy.

    Posted by PR | April 21, 2008, 7:00 pm
  4. D’oh. I didn’t put my own best move up.

    I learnt to use a credit card responsibly - always paying off the balance in full. This is a habit that has (more or less) always stayed with me.

    Not exciting, but certainly very helpful.

    Posted by plonkee | April 21, 2008, 8:42 pm
  5. My best financial move in college was not to take out any student loans but rather to work my way through school. Sadly this good move did not continue into grad school.

    Posted by Zachary | April 21, 2008, 9:01 pm
  6. Mine is the same as yours- I got a credit card when I first went to university, used it rarely and always paid it off in full. I was such an unexciting customer for the bank that in 6 years they never once offered to raise the limit for me.
    Unlike Guinness I think that moving away from home was a better financial option for me. Living in some awful student accommodation over the years means that I am quite happy in my current small apartment with 70s kitchen and bathroom (avocado and harvest gold). If I had only previously lived in my parents large and comfortable home I might find it harder to live as cheaply as I do now.
    On the other hand I am jealous of Guinness’s degree change- who would’ve thought that biological sciences and public health wouldn’t be very financially rewarding?!

    Posted by Looby | April 21, 2008, 10:55 pm
  7. Coming up! :)

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | April 22, 2008, 2:57 am
  8. Good topic. I’m looking forward to the growing response to this one.

    I wrote some DO and DON’T money recommendations a while back on TheUniversityBlog. Here be the linkageness:



    Posted by Martin | April 22, 2008, 11:42 am
  9. Went to a state school, received a pell grant graduate with a networking group and alot of wisdom from my mentors/professors

    Posted by Moneymonk | April 22, 2008, 4:13 pm
  10. I also posted this on cashmoneylife forum as well with somemodificaitons but:

    My smartest move ever?
    - I used credit cards, but always paid the balance in full each month. The bank increased my credit card limit 20fold over a 4 year period, without me asking for it.
    I graduated with $2,000 in the bank and no debt whatsoever. - I moved to live off campus in order to cut on housing expense.
    - I bought books online.
    - I always had an on-campus job ( 20hrs week) and always worked 2-3 jobs during summer/ winter breaks ( 60-80 hrs/week)offcampus to pay for my annual expenses and tuition.
    - I was involved in on-campus organizations and participated in many activities related to my major
    - The above helped me tremendously when I applied for scholarships.
    - I studied my a** off. But I also found time to partay …
    - While in college, I failed to find a job/internship for the first 3.5 years. I learned from my mistakes, learned what jobs are available for my major, and then I had a better success and job finding.

    Posted by Dividend Growth Investor | April 22, 2008, 7:56 pm
  11. The thing that I did that taught me the most was I spent too much money on make-up one semester, then I had to eat butter and crackers. It was a lesson I still remember, you can cut back, but it is not easy or fun.

    Posted by Kathy@brazoscowgirl | April 22, 2008, 8:29 pm
  12. I worked. A lot.

    It started in high school, where half of my money from my almost-full-time job went straight to a college fund, and the rest was left for my tithe, fun money (paintball!!) random spending money (a rare movie or Sonic drive-in) clothes, etc.

    That money paid for my first semester of a small private school. During that semester I was working to pay off the next semester. That summer I worked 2 full-time jobs.

    This pattern continued. I have worked 40 hours, played soccer, and taken a full load of credits (17ish) more than once. I have done odd jobs (housesitting, babysitting, yarkwork) on the side.

    I also postponed getting a credit card and paid for everything with cash. I had to get a credit card this past Christmas to build up a credit report for when I need to buy insurance etc., but I use it soley for groceries or other necessities. This decision, I believe, removed many temptations. (and I have very little stuff to move around.)

    As a result I have one semester left of school and almost no money in debt. I have postponed buying a car, using a bike or carpooling instead. This way I saved on insurance and only shared the high gas prices.

    Working 1 full time and 1 part time job this summer and (gulp) 50+ hours per week next semester, I should be able to pay for next semester, buy a car, pay off my loans, and be living independent and free a year from now.

    Posted by Killer | April 23, 2008, 4:13 pm
  13. I guess my best move was not getting any credit card debt - although I did have student loans (although those totalled a “manageable” £5k), at least those are reasonably cheap lending compared with credit cards.

    If I’d put a few grand on credit cards whilst at uni I think I’d be in serious debt now, 7 years on.

    Posted by Rob Lewis | April 24, 2008, 2:54 pm

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