Congratulations, college student: You are in the middle of one of the most exciting and transformative seasons of life. You’re learning new things left and right: how to apply professional knowledge, how to navigate difficult relationships, and—quite likely—how to survive off of cereal for long stints when the cost of adulthood sets in.
You’re launching yourself into adulthood, and there are many important lessons that you’ll learn in the process: including personal finance in college.
Personal Finance in College: Why Now?
At the moment, your bank account probably looks pretty empty. So why bother thinking about your financial choices now? Because, quite honestly, this is the greatest time in your life to learn stewardship. In Luke 16:10, Jesus says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
If you don’t start training yourself to steward your time and resources, you will continue living that way for the indefinite future. You’re not going to wake up and suddenly learn stewardship when you have more time and resources. It simply doesn’t work that way. God has given you what you have at this specific time, and it is your role to steward those gifts and be generous with them.
Stewarding Your Times & Resources
You can start by paying attention to where your money is going. Don’t spend money that you don’t have by using credit cards or taking on unreasonable loans. They will cause you suffering later.
There are also important ways you can practice wise stewardship of your time. Don’t spend hours playing video games or going to parties when you know you need to be up in the morning for class. Time may seem endless as a college student; you have a whole future ahead of you. But I caution you to let this reality motivate you to invest your time in things that matter rather than wasting it on things that don’t.
Two ways to Practice Stewardship
- Give something to the local church where you belong. Start somewhere. Generosity isn’t for a certain stage of life. God has given each of us something, and we should be joyfully generous with what he has given us.
- Find an older businessperson who knows finances and is willing to help you understand how to create and manage a budget. Then, ask them to hold you accountable to this budget.
Looking Toward the Future
Ask yourself the question, “in three to four years from now, what type of person do I want to be?” Then ask, “What intentional steps and sacrifices am I willing to make to be that person?” These next few years will most definitely turn you into someone. My hope is that the person you become is more godly, more friendly, and more generous than you are right now. If you choose to practice these things, you will walk away from college with more than a degree.