College life tells you to “live in the moment,” but in money, that attitude lands you in debt, bad credit, and limited financial opportunities. As a student, I spent money like I was actually making money, treating myself to dinners and shopping on credit because I didn’t need to repay right away. These financial mistakes caught up with me when I was overwhelmed with debt and stressed out about damage to my credit score, which could jeopardize my chances to get loans, credit cards, even my first job.
College grads must evaluate their budget and what it means to live “within their means.” Start by having a plan of what you need to purchase before you shop, and bring only enough cash that you’re willing to spend. Then use my “Last Aisle Stop” routine before you hit the cash register: Go through your shopping cart and take out the impulse buys that aren’t on your list and anything else you can’t afford. This three-minute strategy saves you from spreading your budget too thin and spending more than you have.