Should You Keep Trying To Live Like A College Student?

I find that those who make good money spend it. When I was a struggling college student my wife and I were extremely frugal. We watched every nickle and was actually able to save during those college years. Those financial habits have left a permanent mark on my psyche and we still save around 40% of our monthly income. The question is should you keep trying to live like a college student?

First, if you continue to live like a college student, you can save a good amount of money. I continue to save around 40% of our monthly income because I choose not to over indulge in expensive habits. I do not need an $80 dollar pair of jeans or $150 dollar pair of shoes. I do like quality, but I can generally find it at discount stores like Ross Dress For Less or Amazon. I know a lot of people who really do not even look at the price tag. I still watch my money closely and that will never change.

Second, do not buy an expensive house. Having a nice home is certainly a part of the American dream, but I do not need to become house poor as a result. If you have little cash because you are having to make payments on a massive mortgage, property taxes, etc., you are house poor. I do not need a fancy house to make me feel better.

Realistically, you should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Our gross income is close to $6,400. Gross income is the amount of money you earn before taxes or other deductions are taken out. Our net income is around $5,300 per month. Our mortgage is $435 per month, HOA is $99 per month, property taxes average $62.5 per month and home owner insurance is around $70 per month.  That averages to $666.5 per month. Yes, basically the mark of the beast. I always knew it felt evil making my payment. As you can see, however, I am well below the 28% of our gross monthly income.

The point I am trying to make is live below your means. Just because you can afford a nicer house does not mean you should get it. We live in a nice condo that only cost $71,500 and life is good. Maybe down the road we will have to find a bigger home with our new addition coming soon, but we will still wait several years before that is truly considered. Oh, we found out the gender of our baby last week and we are having a girl. We plan on naming her Emma.

Third, do you really need a $30,000 dollar car? Now, I am not saying buy a cheap car that will be breaking down every other day. I think you need a dependable car, but buying a brand new car is not the way to go. It loses value the moment you drive it off the lot. I would not spend more than $10,000 on a car. That is me, but really the point is I do not want essentially another house payment. I just would not go there. Besides, you survived college without an expensive car (I am assuming), so you can continue to make it without a nice set of wheels. Settle for average!

Lastly, keep your food budget under control. I am not saying you have to continue to eat Ramen Noodles, but eating out every other day will destroy the budget. Cooking is the cheaper way, but if you are too tired I would accept you buying something off the dollar menu from time to time. Not the best solution by the way, but I am willing to forgive your sins. Just this one time I guess. Yes, I now your Priest.

By continuing to live a frugal lifestyle, a person can really save a large amount of money and provide you with more options. I love having the freedom to make more choices and not allow the lack of money to hinder my ability to live the life I want. Having this liberty did not happen over night. My wife and I really had to go without for many years to accumulate what we have, but the struggle was worth it.

This blog is not meant to trick you into believing you can make money quick. It takes time, discipline and motivation to reach your financial goals. Achieving meaningful things is never easy, but I have faith that you will reach those endeavors in time. Never lose hope!

So, do you still live like a college student? Does it bother you when you see friends blowing their money? It drives crazy, but it is their money. I have to remember that.

6 thoughts on “Should You Keep Trying To Live Like A College Student?”

  1. I still live like a college student — I don’t want for much and I don’t make much so that’s a good fit, lol. That’s impressive, saving that much every month. It’s great you and your wife are on the same page when it comes to finances. I think a lot of times, couples are not and that’s why the divorce rate is so high.

    Oh, and btw — CONGRATS ON YOUR FINDING OUT THE SEX OF YOUR BABY!! Emma is a very cute name. I hope she and Mom continue to be healthy over the next few months. When is she due?

    1. Being on the same page is probably one of the most important things. Both need to be going in the same direction or there will be trouble. Emma is due on May 15th.

  2. I think the college student mentality is more of a deprivation mindset (ie. eating ramen, going without food, etc.). You can eliminate purchases from your life that no longer serve you (ie. expensive cars) and instead apply it to the things that matter, like debt freedom or retirement. Heck, I’ve even seen people apply funds to things that look frivolous, like maids and grocery delivery services. If you keep these luxuries to a minimum and otherwise are improving your finances, I think there’s a lot to be gained with selective luxury expenses.

    1. Sounds pretty good. Finding the right balance is hard. What works for me is not always the best way for someone else. I think a person really needs to sit down and think about what they value and go from there. If you are improving your overall finances that is the key.

  3. In some ways I might live like a college student still, but other ways definitely not. We have spent a lot on our house in particular, but our mortgage is still below your 28% threshold. Very minimal on discretionary purchases and clothes. We also don’t have a savings rate as high as yours, but we’ve found a balance that works beautifully for us at this point in time…

    1. It sounds like you have found the right balance for you. What works for me is not always the best for someone else. I think you are doing great. Key is not over spending on one particular area. Keep up the good job!

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