One oft-repeated piece of advice for young adults who need to get their feet under them financially is to continue to live like a college student for several years after graduation. Maybe this advice applied a couple decades ago, but now that colleges compete for students by enhancing the perks and amenities they offer, I’m not so sure. I think that in many ways I had to decrease my standard of living post-college to live within my means.
Based on my experiences in college and as a graduate student, I’ve grouped the lifestyle components I’ve experienced into whether they affirm or deny the suggestion to continue to live like a college student in your 20s.
“Live like a college student” is good advice because in college/grad school I:
- always had roommates (and by roommates I mean actual roommates or apartment-style suitemates)
- virtually never spent money on shopping or entertainment
- ate whatever food came across my path
- took inexpensive trips with groups of friends to share the costs
“Live like a college student” is bad advice because in college/grad school I:
- went to the dining hall for most meals, which is virtually the same as eating out all the time
- never had to clean my living space (facilities and maintenance cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed, etc.)
- had furniture included with my living space
- had access to an enormous gym with many amenities including group fitness classes
- saw therapists, nutritionists, and career counselors
- attended sporting, theater, and musical events often
- had access to pool, air hockey, and ping pong tables at any hour
“Live like a college student” is useless advice because in college/grad school I:
- didn’t much concern myself with money since my parents were largely supporting me (no insurance, no savings)
- didn’t have any need for transportation, either to go to class or to hang out with friends
- was so preoccupied by classes, homework, and research that I didn’t have time for a life!
Needless to say, to completely replicate the lifestyle I enjoyed in college when no longer a student would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each month! But I do think the advice is good in terms of continuing to have roommates and entertaining yourself inexpensively.
Do you think that it’s useful to suggest that college students maintain their lifestyles to help them live within their means when they are gainfully employed? In what ways did you have to decrease or get to increase your standard of living post-college?
photo from Free Digital Photos