5 Financial Lessons Learned from College

finance-lessons

Happy 2017! Yes, I know I’m late to the game on wishing everyone this. I hope your January is going well so far. As part of my 2017 goals, I wanted to manage my finances better this year. I was given real financial responsibilities when I entered college. This meant having access to a bank account and debit card. Even though I felt like an adult with all this money to my name, it took a lot of trial and error to make sure I still had money to my name.

I decided to join in on Earnest’s initiative to help students plan ahead for graduation and also share some of their favorite experiences and insights from college. This gave me the opportunity to reflect on how I learned to manage my finances in college and what lessons I hope to carry on towards graduation and post-grad. The idea of writing a letter to my future self gave me a perspective on where I want to go, and what I need to do to get there.

College is a fun time to soak in all the knowledge around you. Yet, it can get expensive these days. Make sure you check out Earnest’s resource page to find out how you can choose a loan that fits your situation, refinance student loans, and much more!


Dear Future Kim,

By the time you’re reading this letter again, you’re probably packing up your belongings into boxes for your post college move–wherever that may be. All your class assignments from that first (and last) Stats class to your favorite Comm. classes are labeled and boxed. The photos on the fridge that documented your first Friendsgiving to your multiple attempts at a full roomie pictures are neatly placed in an old shoe box. I hope your succulents, Melly and Theo, survive this long to witness the move from a dorm to an apartment to last college living situation.

Graduation is near. Are you excited? Nervous? Anxious? You always thought that entering college meant being in the “real world.” Yet, now it’s real. You won’t have the cushion of classes that require you to socialize with peers. No more 10:30 pm coffee runs to build stronger bonds between friends. Those days of staying up late wondering if you’re GPA will survive will be a thing in the past. You will be entering the real real world after they hand you your diploma: a 9 to 5 job, having to fill out taxes, and remember when to get your car oil changed.

One of the biggest lessons I learned in college was not how to write a 6 page paper in 2 hours. Or how to speed read a 25 page assignment in 40 minutes. Or how to take the streetcar late at night for boba runs in the International District. Instead, it was how to manage my finances.

Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. You didn’t really learn how to manage your finances until you move off-campus until 2 years into college. The frantic apartment hunt pushed you onto the path of financial responsibility. Your part-time paycheck was once used to pay for unnecessary Target runs, and mid-day Starbucks pick me ups. Hopefully after 4 years, you have it down to a tee how much rent, utilities, and groceries would consume your paycheck.

I heard the real world outside of college is scary. But you’ve gain a lot of knowledge and experiences in college that will help you make it out there. Just don’t forget these 5 financial lessons you learned through trial and error in college:

Check your bank account often

We all have heard stories about how scammers can clear out someone’s bank account quickly. It’s extremely important to make it a habit to check your bank account often. Look for any suspicious or unauthorized transactions. Scammers will begin their heist by withdrawing small amounts to see if you notice. If you don’t catch those and report them to your bank right away, it will only continue to grow bigger and bigger.

Start a budgeting worksheet early

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it took me 3 years to finally start a budgeting worksheet. I spent about 2.5 hours going through 4 months worth of bank statements. It was shocking and embarrassing to see how inflated my spending has gotten over time. I didn’t realize I had spent that much on eating out and shopping. If I had started to budget earlier in my college career, all this overspending could have been regulated better.

We are lucky to live in an age where information is at our fingertips. So use it. There are hundred of budgeting worksheet available online. Many even cater to a college student’s expenses. They have a step by step guide on how to fill it out and budget your expenditures for the followings month.

Take out however much you budgeted for eating out/ entertainment expenses. Pay only in cash so you can see how much you have left right away

I can’t take credit for this tip because my older sister actually recommended this to me. After going through college herself, my sister told me to take out however much I want to spend on eating out/ entertainment in cash. If I pay only in cash, I can see right away how much money I have left for those expenses. With a debit card, it makes it so easy to swipe there. If you’re anything like me, you will be in for a surprise when you check your bank statement and find out you’ve spent that much on donuts.

Sell/ donate items you don’t need

I will admit that I am a hoarder. Every little object from my life I keep because I believe there’s some sentimental value in it. Even though many of the items have lost it’s strong value that it once had, I still can’t part with it. One of the things I’m working on this year is learning how to become a minimalist. I mean, do I really need this dress that I wore once to a high school dance and haven’t touched since then? No, Kim. You don’t.

I’m slowly cluttering and asking myself if the item I’m keeping has an active purpose in my life currently. If not, it needs to be sold or donated. By selling some of the items (such as clothes, furniture, and textbooks) it adds some extra cash into my rainy day funds.

Quality over quantity

I never quite understood what it meant to have quality over quanity. For me, I prefer my stuff to not break the bank. Therefore if it’s cheap, I’m happy. Since I came to college, I’m starting to recognize that some of my “cheap” priced items are breaking down or need to be replaced at a faster rate. I’m learning that it’s better to invest in items that you can use for a longer period of time. You’ll save your money by not having to replace the items every few months. Plus, it will still have that sentimental value that you seems to draw you into keeping stuff.

You’ve been through a lot in college. And it all has shaped you to become the strong and beautiful person you are today. Remember all the fun memories you had in college, but don’t forget the important real life lessons you learned like how to manage your finances. Wherever your post college life may take you, always remember to check your bank account often, create and stick to a budget, sell/donate items, and recognize that quality is better than quantity.

I’m proud of you,

-Kim 🙂

2016 Bloggers’ Posts Roundup

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Can you believe it’s the last week of 2016? Wow, it’s crazy to think that next week we will all be writing 2017 on our papers. If I do say so myself, I believe 2016 was a great year for the blogging community. The blogging community itself grew, engaged, empowered, and supported one another.

I thought a great way to acknowledge the progress made by my fellow bloggers is to feature some blog posts that I have been bookmarking since January 2016. I’m excited to see what 2017 will bring to the community of bloggers. But for now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite posts from bloggers in 2016.


Blogging

Tips and tricks to help you create and run a successful blog from the people who have done it themselves:

How to Write a High Quality Blog Post by Welcome to Aly’s World

Blog Tasks You Can Do in 5 Minutes by SkinnedCarTree

Why You’re Not Inspired to Blog by Living for the Now

How to Get Back Into Blogging After a Slump/Break by Through the Mirror

Blogging in College by The Wise Willow

Ways to Better Your Blog This Summer by Kayla Blogs

Social Media

Expand your brands with the help of social media platforms:

Hashtags to Gain Likes & Organically Grow Your Instagram by Helene In Between

Ideas for Blog & Instagram Photography by Coming Up Roses

Tips for a Seasonal Instagram Feed by Life, Shuffled

College

A roundup of my favorite posts about college. Many of these I can relate to or have tried myself:

The Best Lie About College & How to Change It by The Young Hopeful

Using Google Calendar as a Student by Always, S

What’s in My University Bag by Kimberley Jessica

Two College Apps Everyone Should Have by Hannah With A Camera

Ultimate Guide to Getting Textbooks by College with Caitlyn

Self Care

Take a moment from your busy life to read these posts about topics that relate to self-care:

A Moment for Mental Health by Sunny Rebecca

How I’m Learning to Let Go of Control by The Blissful Mind

The Introvert’s Guide to Thriving in College by Mostly Morgan

I Don’t Feel Like Myself Anymore: And Why I See That as a Good Thing by College with Caitlyn

Thoughts on Alcohol by Sunny Rebecca

Living With Chronic Migraine by Alex Marie

Adulting

Being an adult is hard. These bloggers have made it a bit easier for us:

Tips for Traveling Alone by Cristina Was Here

Tried and True Pinterest Dinner Recipes by Southern Belle in Training

Breakfast for the On the Go College Girl by Coming Up Roses

Essential Steps to a Clean and Organized Bathroom by Courtney’s Little Things

Living Alone: Survival Tips by Cristina Was Here

How to Survive Living with Random Roommate by College with Caitlyn

How to Create a Color Coding System by The College Girl Daily

First Apartment 101 by Samanthability


I hope you enjoyed reading the content that the blogging community and I put out in 2016. Do you have any favorite posts from 2016? Leave them in the comments below!

-Kim 🙂

Blogmas 2016 Update

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you are spending this season surrounded by family, friends, and a cup of hot chocolate.

I wanted to jump on the blog and write an explanation post regarding Blogmas. I will be honest with you; Blogmas has not gone smoothly as planned. Towards the end of November, I made an editorial calendar of all the Blogmas posts I wanted to do. I was excited to participate in this series.

Then life took over. Like many of you, I am a college student. December was the last month in fall quarter for my university. This meant I was hustling to make sure I got good marks for this term. #collegeproblems I didn’t take care of myself well during dead and finals week, so my body decided to shut down on my at the beginning of break. I spent the first part of my break with a headache and feeling nauseous for a week while also having to work. 

Additionally, I had schedule a wisdom teeth extraction. With any surgery, you never know the outcome of the surgery or the recovery process. Luckily, the surgery went well. The recovery process was the opposite. One side of my mouth had some non-threatening complications healing. Thankfully, my oral surgeon was able to help me back on track for healing properly. This does mean that I spent about a week in pain and will have to spend another week going through the actual recovery process.

Long story short, December was not the month I originally planned it to be. Either was Blogmas. I am sorry I wasn’t able to bring the content I had hoped for this month. Hopefully, you will be able to see that content next Blogmas. I will be finishing 2016 off strong though. I am excited to announce that I have 2 posts going up this week. These have already been written, so they will for sure be up.

Again, happy holidays. Cheers to the holiday season and the new years.

-Kim 🙂

 

Blogmas [Day 3]: Mystery Blogger Award

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Quick life update: I’m officially done with my 1st quarter of Junior year! *throws confetti*

As my last final was being turned in, I saw on Twitter that Isabelle from Truly Indulgent received the Mystery Blogger Award! Congratulations to her! She wanted to spread the joy and nominated me for my 2nd blog award too. Thank you Isabelle! It makes me extremely happy to know the blogging community is always supporting each other. #bloggingfam

For those who do not know, the Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Engima. If you would like to learn more about the award, click here!

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“I created the award because there are a lot of amazing blogs out there that haven’t been discovered, yet. And, most of these blogs deserve recognition. For that reason, I decided to create my own award; and nominate people who can also nominate others; and so on. This is one of the best ways to create a friendly community and build a link between bloggers in the blogosphere; as everyone gets nominated and they too can spread the fun by nominating more people for the award. I decided to call the award “Mystery Blogger Award.”

-Okoto Engima

 The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share your link to your best post(s).

About Me

  1. I love dogs. I’m that one person that greets dogs on the streets and smile at them. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to raise a golden retriever.
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My friend Angelina took and edited this photo to reflect my love for dogs.
  1. I’m left handed! This seems to surprise a lot of people. #leftiesunite Is anyone a lefty?
  2. My favorite color is Tiffany Blue!

Isabelle’s Questions

1. Who is your favorite celebrity and why?

Fun fact: I don’t have a favorite celebrity! I haven’t found anyone that I solely admire.

2. What is your biggest goal in life?

To raise a dog. Haha, my second biggest goal in life is to leave a legacy behind. Whether it’s on a big scale or small scale (like family and friends), I just want to know I left my mark on the world.

3. How will you be celebrating the holidays this year?

I will be back in my home town to celebrate the holidays this year. My friends back home always host a party every year. Blogmas Day 2 featured one of them! So I’m looking forward to reconnect with them over presents, pizza, and taking pictures.

4.Name 5 things that make you happy.

  • Food
  • Crafting
  • Dogs
  • Family and friends
  • New adventures
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5.Would you rather never be able to put nail polish on your nails or your toes? (weird/funny question)

Never put nail polish on my toes! I occasionally paint my toes. Even in the summer time I would just wear the same color for months. I have to switch up my finger nail polish though!

Best Posts

Collegiate Guide to Being Sick

Goodbye FOMO. Hello GOMO!

To my 18 Year Old Self

10 Reasons Why I’m an Imperfect Blogger

 My Questions for the Nominees

  1. What is your favorite thing about the holidays?
  2. What is one lesson you learned this year?
  3. What is your favorite social media site and why?
  4. Would your rather be a snowman, reindeer, or an elf?
  5. Do you choose your toothbrush based on the color or the order it is in the package? (weird/ funny question)

Nominees

Kimberley from Kimberley Jessica

Megan from The Chronicles of Megan

Sydney from Anchored in the South

Alexa from Life Shuffled

Stephanie from Sincerely, Stephanie

Rebecca from Sunny Rebecca

Samantha from Samanthability

Caitlyn from College with Caitlyn

Alyssa from The Wise Willow

Melissa from Melissa Manning

Kymberly Ann from Hello Kymberly Ann


Until the next #blogmas post, I wish you all the best of luck on your finals!

-Kim 🙂

Blogmas [Day 2]: Ultimate Guide to Hosting Secret Santa Parties

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Welcome back to Blogmas Day 2! It’s currently finals week for me, so I’ve been busy hitting the books and typing away from my laptop. Every December, I look forward to two things: Holiday Peppermint Hersey Kisses (the red and white stripped ones!) and my friend’s annual Secret Santa party. Karyn, one of my besties from back home, does a wonderful job each year coordinating and hosting a gift exchange party. It’s a great way to get friends together and open presents. 

I have been involved in a lot of Christmas party preparation that involve a gift exchange. This includes helping Karyn with her annual party, hosting one for a school club, and initiating a Secret Santa exchange with my roommates this year. Today, I wanted to share my ultimate guide for hosting a Secret Santa party! I will walk you through from the beginning stages to the end to ensure you will host an amazing party. Let’s get started!


Preparation

Congrats! You have decided to host a Secret Santa party! About a month before the event date, you should start checking off these tasks:

  • Create a guest list!
    • Round up all your friends, family, and coworkers for this fun gift exchange. Make sure you ask the guests if they would like to participate in Secret Santa. Some people may want to opt out for personal reasons.
  • Set a budget
    • Consider how much you and your guest would like to spend on the presents. It’s best to set a price range because everyone’s gift will have around the same monetary value. It’s will be awkward if you gave a $20 gift and you got a $5 gift because a maximum and minimum wasn’t established!
    • If you want small gifts, set your range from $5 to $10. If you want more thoughtful gifts, aim for around $15 to $25. Tailor your range to be reasonable for you and your guest.

Spreading the Joy

Now that you have checked who’s naughty or nice, it’s time to start the process of Secret Santa!

  • Send out who’s Secret Santa
    • There are different ways to do this:
      • Drawing names out of a hat is the classic way to go!
      • Have a third party person pick the names and tell each person separately.
      • All your guest can’t be physically there to draw names? Use Secret Santa Generator!
        • Last year, the VSA officer board use this to virtually draw name. It’s an easy and great way to randomize your secret santa! It even allows your guest to list and link items on their wishlist!
  • Start a wishlist
    • Have each of your guest send a list of the gifts they would like to receive. This gives the Secret Santa an idea of what to buy.
    • You can also have people write down their interest, favorite color, or favorite animal. If gives the Secret Santa more freedom on what gift to buy.
    • This was an idea that my friend group back home started. It has been a lifesaver when it comes to buying gifts. It takes out the guess work of buying presents.

Deck the Hall [for the party]

When it comes to the holiday season, I become Buddy the ELF. I get so excited over Christmas decoration and making my place look festive. Here’s your checklist to making your party a big hit this season!

  • Brainstorm activities for the party
    • Karyn highly recommends planing your activities ahead of time. It gives you an idea of how long your party will go and gives you a back up plan in case the party runs dry. She also reminds you that it’s totally fine if you don’t get to do every activity on your list! The important thing is having fun as a hostess.
    • My friends and I love to include dinner, card games, karaoke, and a dance party as activities at our party.
    • Pinterest has great ideas for party activities! Check it out!
  • Plan the menu 
    • Potluck is one of my favorite ways to take care of food and drinks for a party. 
      • Don’t forget to create a list for your guests to sign up for what they would like to bring!
    • Catering 
      • Many restaurants and eating establishments cater! This means you get delicious food without having to wash dishes afterwards! Joy to the world! 
    • Home cooked dinner
      • Nothing can beat a home cooked meal with friends and family. If you’re up for the challenge, you can cook it all yourself. Or have your friends help you cook a recipe that you found on Pinterest!
  • Design a photo booth
    • A photo booth is a great way to engage your guests. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love taking pictures?
    • Add in props to keep things fun and interesting!
    • Again, Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for party decoration.

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      2015’s photobooth setup at Karyn’s Christmas party!

Finalization

You’re almost to the finish line! Just a few more things to check off before you throw the best Secret Santa party ever!

  • Create a party playlist
    • Karyn is known for having a Spotify playlist for every ocassion and mood! She recommends creating or finding a playlist catered to your party atmosphere. Make sure there’s hours of songs on it so you can sing, dance, and laugh the night away!
    • Alix from A Pint Sized Life has a great list of classic Christmas covers! Check it out here!
  • Designate a place for presents
    • It’s always awkward walking into a party and not knowing where to put the party. Create a place for guests to put their gift so they can go mingle with others and grab a drink!

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of your Secret Santa hosting checklist! I hope you enjoy this step by step guide of how to host your own party. I will see you again on Thursday for Blogmas Day 3!

My question of the day for you is what song(s) would you include on your festive party playlist? My favorite song is Baby it’s Cold Outside by Michael Buble!

– Kim 🙂

Blogmas [Day 1]: December Bucket List

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Happy December y’all! I apologize for not having anything posted on Tuesday. It’s currently dead week at my school with finals following the week after. I have been busy writing essays, working on projects, and trying to get a decent amount of sleep! #collegelife

I am excited to announce that I will be partcipating in BLOGMAS this year! Blogmas is a series where bloggers write holiday themed post. In the month of December, I will be posting TWICE (yes, 2 times) a week. Every Tuesday in December, my post will be focused on tips and tricks to make your holiday season a success! This includes everything from gift guides to home decor to creative gift wrapping. I like to get extra special with how I give gifts during this time, so I can’t wait to share my ideas. On Thursdays, I will be posting more personal posts about the holiday season. This means I will be doing holiday tags/ questionaires, festive looks, and my wishlist.

On the subject of Thursdays post, I owe you my first one today! I love December because of all the festivities going on! It’s a month jam-packed with events to get you in the holiday spirit. To get the most out of this month, I have created my December Bucket List!


 

Attend a Tree LightingPet a reindeerHang stockingBake cookiesDrink hot chocolateWatch a Christmas movieDonate a giftMake s'moresWatch a Christmas paradeMake memories.jpg


I can’t wait for you to see how the rest of Blogmas turns out. I have lots of fun posts going up! So keep your eyes peeled. Leave a comment down below what you would like to see during Blogmas. Also, let me know what is on your bucket list this holiday season? Did I miss anything fun?

-Kim 🙂