“University Is The Best Time Of Your Life”
Before I went to university or college, a lot of people would tell me that these will be the most exciting times of my life.
I had a pretty amazing time in my high school so I was eager to see how this could be topped.
The most challenging thing that quickly rose up, was learning how to make the passage from being a teenager to being a young adult.
For the first time I would have to:
- Commute and most importantly…
…all by myself.
These are things we all need to learn to handle in our lives at one point or another.
So how was this going to be any fun?
The truth is, it is those few years, that shape you to the person you become later in life.
Of course you maintain your personality but your true self somehow gets found in that process.
I’ve learned a ton of lessons in my last few academic years but most importantly I’ve learned how to wisely use my money.
Since I didn’t have a job at that time, I learned how to live on a budget and truthfully I’ll try to Live on a college budget forever.
This will be further explained below. Hopefully you will try to see the perks of doing so and try to do the same.
In this post you’ll be learning the following things:
- What I’ve learned in life as a student
- How I managed to save while being a student
- What work taught me
- How Freedom can be created
There are so many things I’ve learned and I could probably write an entire book about it.
This article however will focus on the life lessons I’ve managed to acquire and realize in regards freedom and money.
If you ever went to college you most likely had a lot of fun and a lot of stress trying to get things sorted on a budget and limited time.
How It Was For Me
I went to study Media and Cultural studies in London at the age of 21.
The very first day was quite a scary moment, as for the very first time since Kindergarden, I had to be completely on my own and make new friends.
I had to find my way through a giant building, walk into classes and find out who to sit next to, do my own groceries etc.
Besides these, coming from a tiny country (Luxembourg) that has a population of just above 500,000 people, moving to London was a culture shock to say the least.
However, it didn’t take a long time to make new friends and connections. For the first time ever I met people from all over the world.
I can honestly say I’ve never felt as free as I felt during these 3 years.With my new found friends I always had something fun to do.
Whether it was going out, walking around, studying, cooking and even cleaning, everything could be done with someone.
The freedom we had was priceless. Of course not everyone was free at all times but you would always find someone to do something with.
I don’t ever recall being bored.
Friendship is something very valuable and I’ve made very good friends over the time.
Before I went abroad I had life long friends that I’ve known since the age of 3.
I didn’t think I could make close friends at a later stage of my life. This has proven to be wrong.
As for the financial bit, my situation and mentality was slightly different from others.
I had a budget of around £450 a month, which is just under $630.
With that money I managed to:
- Buy food
- Go shopping occasionally, get haircuts and other materialistic goods
- Treat myself
- Public transport
- Go out
- and Save some money!
In the first few months, I quickly spent more than I should have. However I never had to ask my parents to transfer me money, because I spent it all.
It felt good to have responsibilities and learn how to ‘survive’ on my own terms.
For the first time I was making my own choices, eating my own food and buying the things I wanted.
Besides my very first month, I never had a moment where I really struggled with money.
As a matter of fact I actually had enough spare money to occasionally visit casinos and realize I hated gambling 😉 !
The way I did that was quite simple. I set myself certain rules and made sure to never break them.
- Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Don’t make any exceptions. If I remember correctly I told myself to not spend more than £100 a week. The only necessities I needed were food! Everything else was my choice!
- Always buy food in bulk and cook as many times as you can. I would always come home with tons of frozen food, tons of canned food that will last and every time I would fly home I would bring back as much as I could in order to have some reserves. The more you cook the less you’ll eat out (and you’ll be living a lot healthier as well). Always look for bargains (2 for 1 or half priced). One thing I loved about supermarkets in London, was that they would put food that was just about to run out, for a lower price. I
- Whatever money remains, carry it over to next month or save it. If by any chance you have some leftover, keep it. Don’t spend money just because you’ve got some. It will come in handy later.
What I loved about London is that everything was so accessible. I hung out a lot with people from London or that lived there for a long time.
One friend in particular always walked instead of taking the public transport. Walking with him made me realize how close and accessible everything is by foot so public transport wasn’t necessary.
You’d be surprised how much money I managed to save. What’s also great about walking a lot is that you keep fit and you see a lot of interesting things.
I constantly bumped into celebrities randomly and saw fascinating events. One time Barack Obama even drove past me.
Getting Older, Time To Work
As I said goodbye to my fun times, I was excited to finally earn some proper money and start doing the things I was limited to do before.
When I finally got a job and received that first paycheck, I was eager to spend it on things I couldn’t afford before.
But as I was at work all week long, all I could really spend it on was going out on the weekend.
I felt too tired during the week and squeezing in gym time at 9-11 pm was hard enough.
The only treats I remember getting for myself was the occasional video game I hardly ever played.
Soon I started spending more money on eating out as I felt too tired to cook every night.
Eventually I ended up tiring my body out too much, which caused me to get injuries and I had to get treatment for it.
Medical bills can be expensive.
I quickly realized I can’t live that way and decided to set myself budgets again.
I started investing and was eager to create another source of income.
Sadly my time was so limited now that I had work and I desperately wished that I had started something whilst being in college.
It was now that I realized how much time I used to have compared to this new life.
Besides the occasional week where I would study a few hours and write a couple of essays, I was always up and about doing things.
I could have used that time to create a business, learn about making money online and avoid being stuck in the rat race.
But my determination didn’t allow me to end this way.
There were tons of similarities to working life and college in the early stages.
It was a scary new element I had to conquer:
- Make new connections
- Cook, clean, wash
But everything seemed to be harder, more expensive and less rewarding.
The connections I’ve made at work were mostly miserable people getting by and living very platonic lifestyle.
The food I cooked was rushed and half as tasty or healthy. Cleaning and washing seemed endlessly and stole the only time I had to be relaxing.
This is obviously because it had to be done in the weekend.
Commuting with the car is expensive for obvious reasons as well.
So what I did eventually was recycle my rules from my college years and started applying them to my current situation.
- Set yourself a budget and stick to it. I didn’t have an exact figure and I still don’t but I set money aside that I need to pay for necessities such as bills, investments, food and toiletries. Besides these four I really don’t NEED to spend any more money.
- Buy everything possible in bulk and cook as many times as you can! When I do my groceries, I always look at the deals first thing. I do my shopping online because it’s quicker and more convenient. There is an entire section on the daily sales so I go through these first and choose everything I need. Things like washing up liquid for example can be bought in bulk because you will always need it, but if you make a giant payment once you don’t have to worry about it in the future. Same goes for toilet paper, toothpaste, canned food etc.
- Invest as much as possible and create a second stream of income! I’ve previously mentioned that I invest a certain amount every month and there’s no way of going back. I don’t even miss or think about that money. It’s just gone and I stick with it. I’ll probably have a look at my account in 20 years and might consider taking out a monthly allowance of this investment (which will be around $20,000 by then). Creating a second income stream is the most important thing I could think of.
Ever since my academic years a close friend of mine and I always tried to hustle our way through one way or another.
Somehow we never managed to get far. I’ve always started small ideas, which never got pulled all the way through.
I guess I was being distracted and had too much fun at the time. With a job in the way of having fun during the week, the motivation is unstoppable.
Now I am working towards a better future and turning back to the way life used to be as a student.
I want to be able to stroll around life and bump into celebrities again, go to museums and enjoy the sun in the park.
Yes most friends will probably be busy at work, but there will always be someone to hang out with.
Obviously the more income you get greater your budget will be.
What You Should Be Doing Now
This post is supposed to wake up the feelings and memories you’ve had in your academic years.
Wouldn’t you love to go back to that freedom but this time without any restraints of having to study?
Besides the minor few hours of work you will have to end up doing, you can be living life the way you want.
Apply the certain 3 main rules in your life and watch how you will automatically be saving thousands of dollars a year.
Here’s a small list of things to get you going and set you on the right path. If I can do it anyone can:
- Save money
- Don’t use credit cards unless there’s no other way
- Don’t use a car, walk or use public transport
- Cook meals instead of eating out
- Share with flatmates/ friends/ partner (your costs will divide)
- Create a second job and work in your spare time (Fiverr/ Wealthy Affiliate)
- Start enjoying life the way you used to
- Explore more and see things
Once you’ve learned to create a second source of income, create a third and fourth. Eventually you can quit your job and be your own boss.
Live On A College Budget for the rest of your life and you will never struggle with money.
You will be eternally wealthy and know how to truly be happy.
If you feel similar please share your comments below. What experiences have you made in college you wish you could relive now?
Do you think that having different sources of income and working from home will grant you that freedom?
Please feel free to ask my anything related to this topic below and I’ll get back to you.
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Thanks for reading,