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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do NOT live your parents’ lifestyle

Many students have this idea that when they leave home to go to university, they are entitled to the same lifestyle that they just left: a nicely decorated and comfortable home with all the high tech devices they had at home, going out to restaurants on a regular basis, buying brand name clothing, etc..  What they don’t realize is that this is their parents’ lifestyle – NOT theirs; they just got to tag along as part of the family!

When living on your own for the first time, if this happens in college or university, your income will be close to nil.  This entitles you to … nil in terms of lifestyle (or very little) since you cannot afford any of it.  Your parents worked hard to EARN their lifestyle.  They worked hard to deserve the fruits of their labour.  You are just starting out on your own, and until you become a contributing member of society, as define by a society who decides that what you do should deserve a salary, you should not try to live your parents’ lifestyle.
This is a mistake I have seen hundreds of students make.  They arrive at university and think nothing of dropping $5-10 every day in coffee shops and going out to eat several times a week.  I understand that this is the way they were raised, but again, when their parents are doing it, it is with their own EARNED money – not someone else’s money.

I think that most parents need to have a serious talk with their teenager before the said teenager goes to university.  As a young adult with no real income, the student is living on his or her parents’ money and need to respect the budgetary constraints imposed by the high cost of education.
In order to attend college or university without digging too deep a financial hole, one has to radically scale back one’s lifestyle to the minimum for a number of years.  This is the plight of a number of students and one should not feel alone in this situation.  This is also a very good reason to search friends amongst the more frugal students at your educational institution… and this will be the topic of an upcoming posting!

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