If there is a creature more genetically incapable of spending money wisely than the university student, it has yet to be discovered in the wild. There are good reasons for this lack of responsible spending among humans between 18 and 22 years old. The human brain takes about 25 years to fully mature. You cannot expect children with unfinished brains to be able to consistently make good decisions about money. The problem isn’t just mental, but emotional. Young adults can be emotionally volatile. Handling money can be an emotional proposition. When emotions run high, so does the credit card bill.
Another reason for the spending challenge with college students is that up to that point in their lives, they haven’t had much experience handling money. You probably don’t let your teen pay the bills or buy groceries. They might have some limited access to money with practically no access to the responsibility required to handle it well. Suddenly, they are living a thousand miles from home. There is no one to tell them they can’t order their favorite pizza every night, or go to that club, or buy that leather jacket, or a thousand other things in the moment they decide is more important than textbooks.
That said, there are things important enough for college students to spend your hard-earned money on. If your kid asks to use your credit card, it is okay to say yes to any one of the following:
As you know all too well by now, college is expensive. On top of tuition are a whole host of expenses such as,
- Spending money
If your teen is having trouble with their grades, you will also need to pony up for study aids. One of the most useful types of study aid you can get is the kind that offers realistic practice exams for those really challenging courses. The good ones are based on real courses offered at top universities.
The reason you should want to pay for this is as much economic as it is a desire to see your child succeed. As mentioned already, college is expensive. It is even more expensive to pay all that money only for your child to flame out. You will set tens of thousands of dollars on fire if your child fails to succeed academically. Study aids save you money as well as provide your child their best chance for academic success.
Things That Will Last
One of the best ways to waste money on every purchase you make is to buy low-quality items. Low-quality is not the same as inexpensive. There are plenty of things you can buy that are inexpensive that are not cheap. And many expensive things that are comically awful. The key is to focus less on the price and more on the overall value proposition. Quality is one of the biggest parts of the value proposition.
Emotional purchasing seldom takes quality into consideration. Emotions tend to prioritize other characteristics such as initial price, aesthetic appeal, popularity, and desirability. When you really want something, you find ways to justify it. You seldom consider how long that product will last. Some things cost more money up front but that is because it is the last one you will buy for a very long time. You will not have to keep replacing it with other subpar versions of the thing you need. When your college needs you to make a big purchase for them, do a little research and be sure you are getting something that will last.
Don’t choose your college-bound child’s cell phone carrier on the basis of TV commercials. The carrier where you live might not be the best choice where they go to school. They need good wifi which they will probably have on campus. But they might need to tether their laptop at other times. A slow and unreliable connection can be a real disadvantage for today’s college students. So don’t let hype or price be the deciding factor. Get them the best connectivity available in the place they will need it the most.
Not everything your child wants to spend money on is wasteful. Just most of it. Among the worthwhile expenses are study tools, quality items, and the best connectivity in the area.