Some Notes on Saving Money in College and Post-Grad

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    Disclaimer: I did not major econ or business during undergrad so most of this is anecdotal. Furthermore, as the title stated, this post will at first be short quips about saving money.

    Background: Many Asian students are at risk of wasting both their time and money navigating through adult life regardless of how high-achieving they are. This results in lost time to chase your goals and lower standard of living immediately and/or during college.


    1. When choosing colleges, look very carefully at not only tuition but rent around the area. Chances are, you will leave the dorms after freshman year and will relocate with buddies to an apartment. Make sure you won’t waste thousands of dollars on rent.

    2. Scholarships trumps prestige. Medical, grad, law, dentistry schools, and jobs don’t care about where you went for undergrad. Most, if not all, only look at your achievements and your degree and not where you did/got it. Take the free tuition and go somewhere nicer for when it really matters.

    3. Have a healthy diet. Junk food these days cost way too damn much. It’s actually more cost-effective to have a good meal-prep regiment than going to your cafeteria or your nearest fast food joint.

    4. Pick three suits/formal dresses and stick with them. Suits are really expensive these days and are in use infrequently. Make sure you buy good, long lasting attire and stick with it until you start making good money (I personally had blue, black, and grey suits).

    5. Don’t ever, ever buy books. Chances are they can be found as PDFs online or your lecturer won’t really use them. Use that money for celebrations or fun weekend trips.

    6. Don’t be too high-achieving. I mean this as taking unnecessary extra classes and or majors. In a lot of colleges and universities, this would increase your tuition by a significant amount. Furthermore, this could lead to actually damaging your GPA and taking time away from social life or hobbies.

    7. If you’re in the city, ditch your car. Parking is really expensive in college towns and cities. Just don’t bring your car or sell it during college.

    8. Don’t drink or smoke too much. Buying drinks cost a lot and will create a burning hole in your pocket. Try to limit drinking down to twice a week or even less. Smoking destroys your lungs, just don’t do it frequently unless you want be paying medical bills down the road.

    9. Pay off your loans ASAP. The more time you take, the more you have to pay. If you’re going to prof school, make sure you can secure a job that will allow you option of loan forgiveness if needed. This is crucial as these loans can be the only thing stopping you from buying a house or car.

    10. Date someone who understand the value of money. You don’t want to be dragged into expensive events or be forced into buying expensive things.

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