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Money. A measure of success, the ultimate goal of some, something that consumes all of our lives.  So if everyone is working for this thing, why is it so awkward to talk about? Why do we shy around the subject, even with friends, family, partners? That, I don’t have the answer to. But I do have some insight on other topics surrounding money, and maybe just MAYBE they’ll make you feel more comfortable about talking about it. 

Here’s the first thing that you need to realize. There are ALWAYS going to be people making more money than you. On the same hand, there are ALWAYS going to be people who are making less money with you.  While comparing yourself to others can be useful if it helps you strive to do better, there’s no point in getting upset about it. Once you realize that and become ok with that idea, everything will be so much easier. 

My experience with money is what I would consider unique. I actually don’t know anyone else whose parents have done the same thing as mine have. For starters, my parents never shied around the idea of money. They recognized that it was important for me to have a realistic expectation of how much things cost, even what it was a lot. 

When I finally got old enough to deal with money on my own, my dad did something unique. Let me preface this by saying, I am so aware of my privilege in this. My dad wanted to be able to offer to me something that his parents couldn’t give to him, and I’m so thankful for that. In high school, I got “paid” bi-weekly, an allowance that accounted for gas, my car insurance, and a little extra spending money (because my dad is the absolute best and loves me a lot). The key with this money, was that it wasn’t monitored at all. If I wanted to go and spend all of it on hookers and blow (I don’t recommend this), that was my prerogative. But if I did that and didn’t have gas money to get to school, oh well guess I wasn’t going to learn.

What this helped me do, which has completely changed the way I viewed money, was understanding how to budget. First, I had to make sure my insurance was paid for and I had gas in my car. Then I could go do fun stuff like go out to dinner with my friends and get my nails done. And I would work odd jobs here and there (uber eats was the best before gas skyrocketed) to have even more cash on the side. 

Now I’m in college and have WAY more financial responsibility than just making sure my car insurance is paid. I have rent, I must pay the school, buy my own groceries, etc. This can be scary, to make sure you have enough money to cover everything, in the right accounts, blah blah blah. I cannot stress enough how much having a budget has helped me with this. I started with looking at my spending in a month. And then I realized, holy hell I’ve spent like $40 on Starbucks this month. That might be excessive. If you’re looking for an online tool for this mint pulls in all data from your financial institution and fills in your purchases in your budget. It basically does it for you. 

It can be so scary to be financially independent. No one teaches you how to do this stuff in school, and if you don’t have parents that tell you, there really isn’t a way to know. Trust me, some of this stuff still confuses me (I’ve decided insurance is the most complicated thing in the world and was created by the devil), but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. There are so many ways to become more financially literate, we even have free seminars on it at NCSU! 

Bottom line, ask your questions, make your budgets (and stick to them, or they’re pointless), and track your spending. You would be surprised as to what pops out to you. Do this, and you’re on your way to not stressing about money every day for the rest of your life. 

Hey everyone! I'm Savannah and I'm a senior at State! I'm double majoring in psychology and film studies, and work for a film data analytics company! In my free time you can find me going on walks, listening to podcasts and trying out new recipes!
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