I have been in school for quite some time; I graduated from one shorter program before going into a longer, more involved program that would undoubtedly help me advance my career but also keep me in school for longer than I had intended originally.
One thing I noticed during my time off between programs was that I was a lot more frugal when I was a student than I was when I was out of school.
The more I thought about it the more the reason why this was the case came to fruition for me. It’s really easy to be frugal when you are a student.
How so? Let me show you.
1. You are Surrounded by Poor Students
It’s so much easier to be frugal and not spend money when you are surrounding by people who don’t have much of it to begin with!
Granted, just because you are around many students who don’t have much money doesn’t really mean that they aren’t spending a lot of money, because it’s so easy to get access to debt these days for anybody even students who don’t have an income, but still. I find that students are still pretty frugal.
Also it’s helpful because when you are a student usually lots of your friends are students too so they don’t want to spend a lot.
2. You Are Expected to be Frugal as a Student
When you are a student there is no expectation that you will have a lot of money or will be spending a lot. When my friends and I go out and they aren’t in school and I am, they tend to just expect me to want to do cheaper things like go for one beer instead of going to a hockey game.
Especially by people who have been in the student situation and know what it’s like to be broke from tuition and therefore need to be cheap or frugal.
3. You Haven’t Yet Experienced Lifestyle Inflation
Lifestyle inflation makes it really hard to stay frugal and good with money. When you graduate and start working, earning your first paycheck in your first real job, all you want to do is spend this big chunk of money that is coming your way.
Obviously you shouldn’t go ahead and spend it just yet. In fact you really should be saving as much as possible so that you can pay down your student loans, if you have them, or save up an emergency fund after years of not being able to save while you were in school.
While you are in college, you have yet to experience major lifestyle inflation so you don’t know what it’s like to be able to blow some cash in any way you’d like (without debt). This makes it easier to stay on the right frugality track.
When you were a student (if you ever were) did you find it easier to be frugal?