How many times have you wistfully gazed at some new piece of technology or new article of clothing and exclaimed, “I NEED to have it!”? This probably happens more often than you even realize. With all of the advertising that we are slammed with day in and day out we’ve been inundated with the belief that our life will not be complete without owning whatever product is hot on the market right now. Add in being in college, which is that awful in between time where for the most part you aren’t fully under your parents thumb anymore but you haven’t quite made the leap into the “real world” either, and it can be hard not to get swept up in flashy ads and hot new items. So how do you figure out what you really need… and what it is that you just really want?
Is it crucial to your success?
While owning a brand new laptop or that fancy new computer software would certainly be nice, if an older model computer is equipped with all of the necessary functions to get you through school then you should probably skip the fancier, more expensive version. Being frugal in college is a necessity for most college students, so if you can answer the question of “is this product an integral part of my success” with a less expensive model then skip the fancy gadget.
Do I just want it because everyone else has it?
iPhones, Andriods, and every other version of smartphones on the market have swept the nation. Take a second to look around you and just about everyone is whipping out their smartphone to check an email or download a new app. However a regular cell phone will do exactly what you need it to do: make phone calls. Facebook, Twitter, and Angry Birds can all wait until later. You will survive. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting things because it seems like everyone else has them, but just because Sally may be carrying a designer purse and Bob may be cruising around town in a brand new Lexus doesn’t mean that you have to purchase expensive, flashy, or brand name things. Function trumps fancy.
Fixed versus Flexible
Before you start spending any money it’s a good idea to write down what you’re fixed expenses are (rent, electricity, water, campus transportation, meal plans, etc.) and what your flexible expenses are (beer, eating out, clothes, magazine subscriptions, etc.). Doing so will give you a clear idea of what it is that you really need your money for and what things are extras that you just want to be able to afford.
Frugal pays off
A lot of college students end up going into debt because they think they need all the latest and greatest things and they don’t realize that they could do just fine without them. But having as little debt as possible during college will trump any longings for the latest cell phone or skipping dining out a few times a week.
Coleen Torres, blogger at phone internet, Save money on home phone, digital TV, and high-speed Internet by comparing prices from providers in your area for standalone service or phone TV Internet bundles.