Friday, July 10, 2009

Buddy Friday: Living on Your Own in College

My oldest daughter just completed her second year of college. She moved out of the dorms and into an apartment so she could intern over the summer. She was very excited at the prospect and grateful that she has a job waitressing to cover her expenses. We thought the opportunity would be good for her both for the experience of interning as well as the experience of "living on her own." We figured it would give her a good idea of whether or not she was ready for an apartment setting for the school year.

There are a lot of things a college kid doesn't know (even though they're convinced they know everything). How to set up a budget, how to balance a checking account, when is rent due, how does a wire work. All this was new to her. She asked questions, got answers, but felt like she should have been imparted with this knowledge somewhere along her educational journey.

I told her I would look for some sort of reference for her. I didn't know if it would be a beginning budget or bookkeeping book, i really didn't know what I would find when I went to the bookstore. The answer was "not much". It is funny, there is a huge push for college shopping, outfit your dorm room with the coolest, latest, greatest stuff. $pend money, money, money (after you've paid the tuition$$ mind you). But there is no reference for a college student to spend their money WISELY.

I plowed through the section, looked through books and the best I could do was a woman's guide to living independently. I did buy a copy as it did have a chapter on how to budget your money as well as how to save, how to invest. A grow into guide if nothing else. I may find myself writing a book.

Caitlin has decided to live off-campus this year, has found a rent and a roommate. I'm very proud of her. I'm also glad she has the opportunity to learn how to live on her own with the safety net of college and mom and dad before it's just her, an apartment and work.

I would love to know: What is your best tip for a college student living on her own for the first time?


Margaret's Ramblings said...

THe best bit of advice??? Stay in touch with her wise mother, haha. It sounds like you should look seriously at that idea for a book on this subject. I hadn't realised that information was so slim.


Bryan said...

In my opinion, the most important thing to consider when moving off campus is the choice of roommate(s). Financial stuff is certainly important, but it's also inescapable whether you're living on your own or not.

Roommates, however, define the living experience completely. They'll always be there, constantly impacting daily life. Friends often don't make the best roommates, but the best roommates will be lifelong friends.

Bryan said...

PS, mostly unrelated, but you and maybe your daughter may find this amusing: