Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

We don’t learn about money in university, or in younger education at that. It’s sad but it’s true – no one teaches us how to pay taxes, how to budget and what a mortgage is. And yet, money is essential! No matter what career you get into, you’ll be earning a salary and using money to buy food, transport, etc.

So if the schools won’t teach us, we need to teach ourselves. Based on the several months I’ve been working and researching with Financially Mint, here are the top 5 money lessons you need to know before graduating.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

1. Money is just a tool

My life changed when I realised I didn’t have to spend my entire life working for money at a job I didn’t like just to pay the bills and have a roof over my head.

Money is your tool to live how you want. You are the one who chooses what to do with it. If you want to use it to travel the world, that’s on you. If you want to use it on going out every weekend, that’s also on you. It’s about making priorities and deciding what you really want. Once you understand that, you realise that money is just a tool to achieve your goals and dreams; what you really need is willpower and a desire to do better.

And the key to making sure you use your money correctly is financial education – what we’re not taught in schools. Learning how to invest, how to start a side-hustle, how to save money. These are things we need to learn by ourselves, and the more we study them the better we get at it. So get started in college!

2. Invest, invest, invest

The key to growing your wealth: investing.

Investing is stowing away your money somewhere safe and watching it grow. It’s starting off with £500 and seeing it grow to £100,000 over 20 years. It’s what lets people retire early and always have cash for emergencies.

If you don’t want to start investing in college (check my how to get started in uni post), I recommend at least learning the basics and preparing for investing once you graduate. Invest into low fee index funds and put away some money every month. Watch your money grow into something useable for the future: a car, a house, retirement, etc.

Investing is one of the pillars of financial education, so I recommend every student to get started as soon as possible.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

3. Control is key

Control means knowing where your money is and what it’s doing at all times. It means not having a heart attack every time you open your bank account (it happens) and it means knowing where to put your money once you get your paycheck.

This starts with a nice and simple budget. In my 6 day course, that The Frugal Frenchie has reviewed, we go back to the basics of budgeting: allocating your money to the right expenses and making sure you reach your ambitions/goals.

Being in control of your money outflows and inflows before graduating will make your entry into the workforce so much easier. You won’t have a pressure to get a job immediately (Emergency fund to the rescue!), you’ll know what kind of salary you’re looking for and you’ll know exactly where to put your money every month.

4. Don’t be in debt

Debt can good and can be bad. But when it’s bad, it’s pretty bad. The bad debt: credit card debt and payday loans. As a student, you hopefully will have very little debt (student loans are a separate case), and you really want to keep it that way. Credit card debt accumulates and will get more expensive every time – pay off all your debt and make sure you know what you’re doing if you take on any more debt.

Student loans are another story altogether. In fact, they’re so different that some people prefer calling your student loan debt a contribution, simply because the situation is so particular. Before graduating, take a look at your student loans and decide whether you want to pay them off. This post on Should I pay off my student loans? will give you an idea of how to make a decision and plan appropriately. And as always, do your research.  

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

5. Pay yourself first

The best part of the budget: yourself.

This means allocating a certain percentage of your income to yourself, to your goals. And you can start this in college: the minute you get your paycheck/loan/money each month, allocate 15% to your goals, to your emergency fund, to your debts. That 15% is what will get you out of the rat race, out of living from paycheck to paycheck.

If you start paying yourself first in college you will actually be prepared for adult life (shock horror). You’ll be way more flexible and really be able to pick the job you want – because you’ll have an emergency fund, you’ll be debt free and will have the motivation to keep working on your goals.

Again, this starts with the mighty budget. At the time of calculating your budget from your income, the first thing you do is allocate that 15% to ‘Savings’. And then the rest is for your expenses! No need to worry about saving up more.

Understanding these 5 lessons on money will get you prepared for the world after graduation. Heck, it’ll even get you excited – you understand that you don’t have to be stuck at a job you just tolerate, you can achieve that flexibility to help you find the job that works best for. It all starts with being in control and financially educated.

Review: Free finance course for students

Through my old money blog, I have made friends with other money bloggers and learnt so much through them. Recently, my friend Araminta from “Financially Mint,” has put her financial knowledge into a super helpful, FREE, 6-day course. As it has an emphasis on helping and teaching students, I thought it would be a great idea (for my benefit too) to try it out and give you a review!

The Frugal Frenchie

Day One: Planning

In day one of this email course, you’re encouraged to create a plan and set goals for yourself. Emails across the next few days will guide you and give you ideas on how you can reach those goals!Review: Free finance course for students

Day Two: Lower Spending and Budgeting

To get you started, one of the most commonly used words in finance – budgeting- is covered. Why is it important? What can it tell you? Araminta also shows you, through pictures and instructions, how you can keep track of your expenses, savings, debt, income and how to set a budget.

A big emphasis is placed on cutting down your unnecessary spending, and if not possible, Araminta has you covered with a guide to student discounts as well as a long list of available ones out there!

Day Three: Increasing your Income

I love how this course is catered to students. It’s always annoying when people assume you can just get a full-time job or something of a higher wage, we’re students! It’s not always possible!

Catering to this, day three of the course gives you several options for side hustles that you can manage alongside your studies, as well as a clear guide to helping you get started on each one. They’re super easy and really well explained- so don’t worry if it’s all new to you.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Four: Pay Off Debt

As I personally have no debt, bar student fees (I didn’t take out a maintenance loan), day four was really interesting for me. I learnt about interest and how potential payments could be made in future, and how to get your head around it. There were also some helpful tools attached to the email such you can try calculating a future payment plan for yourself.

Day Five: The Savings

You’ll see that throughout the first few days, there will be a continuous mention of “15% in your savings account.” This is explained in more detailed at the beginning of the budgeting email, so make sure you go back to it and understand that before day five!

In this email, there are heaps of good ideas on what to do with your savings. This includes investing ideas (with case study examples), with some relevant articles and resources and then explaining what a “FU Fund” is and why it’s beneficial to have one.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Six: Financial Education and Resources

The last day of the course is helping you to continue to grow your financial education. There is a free resource pack available through “Financially Mint,” as well as a list of other places you might grow your knowledge from.  Once you start budgeting more seriously than just on pen and paper, this email has you covered with some great recommendations for budgeting apps that you can try and have a whizz at.

Overall, as you can imagine, I found this course extremely interesting and above all, very helpful. If you’ve never really thought about your finances or don’t know where to start, it’s ever so helpful having tonnes of information in 6 clear, consecutive emails.

If you’d like to join the course, simply click here and let me know what you thought afterwards!

5 Must-Read Money Books for Millennials

Today, the lovely lady behind Boost My Budget has given us her favourite money books for millennials. They are all designed to help inform us about money, investing and giving us useful money tips! Take a look and I hope you find them useful!

The Frugal Frenchie x

 Most of us aren’t taught about money in school. But why not?

Chances are you use money every single day. Money – or lack of it – can affect our comfort, stress levels and daily life like nothing else. I’d argue it’s the most important thing you can spend time learning about!

Luckily, there are loads of great books out there that can help you out. Whether you want to learn about budgeting or investing, living with less or earning more, there’s a book that can answer all your questions.

Here’s my pick of five great books to start you off on the right foot.

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry

If you only read one book about money, make it this. Erin blogs about money over at Broke Millennial, and she’s recently released her first book by the same name.

This one book covers absolutely everything you wanted to know about money but didn’t know who to ask. From personal finance basics such as understanding credit scores and student loans to trickier issues such as awkward money conversations with your partner or asking your boss for a pay rise – it’s all here.

You can read this book cover to cover or keep it as a kind of reference guide to dip in and out of. Also, this book is funny and easy to read. It feels like having an honest chat with a particularly savvy friend.

Millionaire Teacher:The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam 

Andrew Hallam became a millionaire in his 30s while earning a very normal salary as a teacher. In this book, he explains how you can make your first million too! And no, you don’t have to score a record contract or invent a groundbreaking new tech product. Andrew’s method is based on living simply, saving and investing – a method accessible to anyone, at any age and on any salary.

I often hear people from our age group wondering what’s the point in saving when we don’t seem to earn enough. If that’s you, this book will prove you wrong. Not only will it change your money mindset and explain exactly why you should want to save and invest, it gives you a step-by- step road map to follow.

Hint: Andrew’s recommended form of investing is nothing to do with yelling down the phone at your stock broker like you see in films. It’s called “passive investing” and it takes just an hour of your time… per year.

Even if you’ve never considered investing before, you’ll be itching to open your first account before you even finish this book!

I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No guilt, no excuses – just a 6-week programme by Ramit Sethi

With a title like that, how can you resist! I Will Teach You to Be Rich is a six-week plan to get your financial act together. If you follow the easy steps in each chapter, you’ll go from knowing zero about money to having the best possible bank accounts and credit cards, a plan to pay off debt, a super simple budget, and automated savings and investment accounts.

The best thing is, the plan is designed for lazy people. This book will teach you how to set it and forget it so you can get on with living life, without juggling piles of bills and receipts each month. I Will Teach You to Be Rich is aimed mostly at young professionals with a bit of disposable income – but anyone who reads this book will learn something to improve their finances. It also comes with loads of extras, such as downloadable spreadsheets, scripts for tricky phone calls to the bank, and links to online tools.

There’s a UK edition and a US edition, so make sure you pick up the one that’s most relevant to you.

5 Must-Read Money Books for Millennials

Your Money or Your Life  by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

This is a personal finance classic that will completely change the way you think about money.

Your Money or Your Life came out around 20 years ago but it still feels really fresh and modern to me. It encourages a lifestyle based on simple, frugal living, anti-consumerism and mindfulness. It teaches you to see money in terms of your time and energy and helps you work out your real priorities in life.

This is the book that kicked off a whole movement based on retirement. Yes, there are people who retire early – seriously early, like in their 30s – and it’s possible for you, too! Your Money or Your Life is a must for anyone who feels like money worries rule their life, and wants to embrace a different way of living.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich  by Timothy Ferriss

Ok, this isn’t strictly a ‘money book’, but I had to include it because a) it’s brilliant, and b), it will totally change the way you relate to working life – which is basically all about money anyway.

The 4-Hour Work Week will change the way you think about careers, entrepreneurship, and what you’re doing with your life. This is an awesome book for millennials staring down the road of 40+ long years before retirement. It will fire you up and arm you with practical suggestions on how to live a different life.

There are loads of fantastic tips on time management and productivity which will serve you well whether you’re a student, employee or wannabe entrepreneur. It even gives you a step-by- step guide on how to start your own side business.

What do you think of my selection? Do you have any other favourite money books? I’d love to hear your suggestions, let me know in the comments below! Alternatively, you can tweet me at @BoostMyBudget