I recently opened up the diary I kept throughout high school. It was full of happy moments like the day I got my two dogs or the day I got my braces off and could finally eat an apple. Hidden behind countless doodles were also my past New Year’s resolutions. Looking back, my New Year’s resolutions from 2018 were pretty simple. My biggest goal was to earn a 4.0 GPA and get into any college. I did not manage to get the 4.0, but here I am in college with a whole new set of resolutions for 2020 from an adult perspective that I never imagined myself writing.
My personal list of New Year’s resolutions include: learning better money management skills, improving my mental health and building my credit history, all of which is much easier said than done. As a first-generation college student, it has been difficult to go to my parents for help, so since I began my college journey, I have done everything on my own.
One of my biggest struggles was the lack of money during my first and second years of college. I managed to get a job and since then I’ve been stuck in an unhealthy mentality that is basically “Oh, I’ll get a paycheck in two weeks so I can buy anything!” I was oblivious to my excessive spending of money because I had gone almost my whole life without receiving any luxury items like makeup or new clothes. I was new to adulting and indulged in doing everything I couldn’t do as a teen.
That is why learning money management skills is one of my biggest goals in 2020. At the end of the day, my student loans are not going to pay themselves off.
My first step toward better budgeting was downloading a budgeting app on my phone. I decided on an app called Mint, which shows you what you are spending your money on and allows you to allocate money to different categories. The app showed me that I was unsurprisingly spending a lot of money eating out and buying products on Colourpop a little too often. It hurt seeing my bad spending habits laid out in front of me but coming to terms with where my money is going and how I can practice good budgeting etiquette can hopefully save me money and time in this new decade.
My next resolution is tackling my lack of credit history. I seriously have no idea how to even get started with this goal because, again, I can’t ask my parents for a detailed explanation. But I do know that I can’t keep living in the student apartments, and in order to live somewhere after college, I need a good credit score. The best option for what I have found online is to research credit cards and which ones are beneficial. Doing these things alone is pretty nerve-wracking, but I hope that one day I can teach my younger siblings how to handle this aspect of personal finance when they become young adults.
My last goal for the decade is to continue improving my mental health. I do not plan on bottling my emotions anymore in 2020 or letting personal hardships become detrimental to my health. I began frequently visiting the CAPS building a year ago and it has gotten me through many tough situations. I will continue to attend appointments and ensure that I am in a good mental state as I tackle the new decade.
Overall, my New Year’s goals will be beneficial to me in the long run but relying only on myself to find useful resources and information on how to reach them will be a tough hurdle to overcome. However, I am ready to get down to business and achieve my goals.