In most cases if you're in university or recently graduated, you are or have been living the lifestyle most commonly known as that of the starving student. If you’re a Liberal Arts major, then henceforth you shall be known as a starving artist, but for everyone else a lifestyle change is on the horizon. Ideally it will involve new and exciting work, with considerably more income and dignity than anything between classes might have paid. The problem is that few students have enough finances during their time in university to give them any real sense of how to manage more than tips and money for Ramen Noodles (mmm). When they hit the real world with a real job, they tend to go a little overboard with spending.
Sushi, flat screen televisions, weekly concerts, and taking starving artist friends out to dinner becomes the norm. No doubt plans are even in place for happy hour after work, weekend trips to other cities, and of course the newest phone available. The problem is, this is absolutely the worst way to truly enjoy your future. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but no matter how you slice it, life after university starts out a lot like Farmville. You basically get a bunch of seeds and a pat on the back when you graduate. If you eat the seeds, you’ll spend the rest of your life working so you can get more seeds. However, plant some now and live frugally for a few years, and with each passing year you’ll be able to relax a little more and work a little less until you’re fully retired.
This is because, with the exception of expenses covered by family, scholarships, and whatever loans you got during the starving phase, students invariably get by on small and undignified incomes. They live frugally and without spending much money. Despite the fact that this lifestyle is imposed out of necessity, and not choice, no one starved while living it. Well, at least no one reading articles by this writer starved. Also, no one was forced into the streets, unless they were Liberal Arts majors preparing for graduation. In that case, buy a paintings and direct them to this article on student loans. Anyway, you did this for four long years, and with the exception of any fraternity or sorority hazing you might have been subjected to, it was a lot of fun. If it wasn't, just go back and read Tom Sawyer again until you get it.
The point is, by maintaining a frugal lifestyle a little longer, you can not only save a considerable amount of money, but you can also establish patterns of living that will put you light years ahead of your fellow students a decade from now. That is because by saving more you will not only better position yourself to capitalize on financial opportunity, but also quickly build your reputation as a stable and dependable person. This may not seem like much now, but when you are looking to move up the career ladder, having a house, a normal car, and solid financials can mean the difference between a promotion or navigating the maze each day on the way to your cubicle. It can also give you the cushion to pursue a dream, have children, or open a business, just by following some good financial tips.
So consider all of the freedoms you enjoyed in university before going on a spending spree. Ironically, a few more years of the same lifestyle will give you exponentially more freedom for the rest of your life. Most people are just too blinded by advertising and marketing to see that. Chaining yourself to an expensive lifestyle right out of the gate is the worst long term decision you can make. If you don’t believe me, you will in 10 years when you’re driving the same car you ran out and financed, still renting, and wondering why your friend who read this article is now your boss.
If the imagery of you driving a beater in ten years with less hair and more weight wasn't enough to scare you into fiscal responsibility, then maybe thinking about your retirement will.
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