College is a time where are spending a good deal of our day with peers. Many times we tend to pick habits up from those closest to us, including friends. Have you thought about how your friends affect your finances? Has it been for the better or have you been struggling with your money?

The Unofficial Taboo on Money

It can be hard to avoid trying to keep up with all the movies, games, and gadgets people are buying. Even if you have some extra money from financial aid, you might want to pass on spending money with you buddies all the time.

Some of your classmates have access to financial support that you might not be aware of, such as parents. Your friends may be deeply in debt even before they graduate. Most times, you don’t know because people tend to avoid conversations about finances. It’s not just a phenomena with college students, many people feel uncomfortable talking about their budgets.

Video Games – Spending to Keep Up?

If you’re tempted to keep up with your friends, here’s an example of what you can do to reduce your spending. Let’s look at video games – they’re popular on campus and you probably can name someone who has all the latest games. They buy the games the week they come out. You’re tempted to buy some of them because you don’t want to

When debating on whether to get a game, ask yourself some questions:

  • How often am I going to play it? – Admit it, a lot of games are good for one play through.
  • How am I going to pay for it? – If you have a job, how many paychecks will it take to buy it?
  • Will getting the game affect my grades? – I’ve been guilty of rushing a few papers because I was deep into a game.

Factor in the time you spending playing it and working to buy it, it’s usually not a good deal. You may want to just hang at your friend’s place and play the game.

If you don’t want to seem like a mooch, here’s what you can do – when you come over your friend’s place, bring pizza, Chinese food, or drinks. I have not met a college student who has too much food. (By the way, make sure you get your stuff on special or with a coupon.)

It’s a win-win situation and you can save some money while doing it.

Planning for Life After Graduation

While being focused on school is commendable, you should go ahead and have a financial system created for your life after college. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you just have to have some basic accounts open.

Here are three ideas to get you started:

  • Checking Account-This account is your hub and it will handle all your bills.
  • Savings Account- Once you graduate, you’ll probably need some cash to help you move, get an apartment, and start your first job with some good work clothes.
  • Roth IRA– Thanks to the power of compound interest you don’t need to start off with a ton of money, you just need to start early.

If you can get started while you’re in college, the better prepared you’ll be when you come out.

Thoughts on How Your Friends Influence You

What about you? Have you noticed that your financial habits are similar to your friends’ or are you different? Have you used peer pressure for good?

Laura Martinez

Laura Martinez