Beyond Laundry

Did you know that there is a strong correlation between students who go off to college knowing how to do their own laundry and students who ultimately receive their college degrees? While correlation never implies causation (as you learned in your statistics class) we can conjecture that students who have learned how to wash their clothes have also  learned other skills that make them independent and self-sufficient, and certainly those are qualities that would help any student have a successful college experience.

If you don’t know how to do your laundry, it’s not too late to learn. And here are some other things we think that you should know how to do before you head off to campus next year:

  1. Save money by learning how to cook a few basic dishes. Try Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express for meals you can make in less than 20 minutes.

  2. Save more money by learning how to make your own coffee. Not with those wasteful coffee pods, but make a pot of real, brewed coffee. Your roommates will be grateful!

  3. Develop a system for keeping track of your spending -- and savings! . Check out Mint - a free, online tool for managing your budget that takes only minutes to set up.

  4. Learn how to schedule your own appointments for everything from haircuts to well-visits with your doctor. 

  5. Use Uber, Lyft, or Curb. These car services will get you door to door and you’ll never have to worry if you gas in your tank. 

  6. Here’s a tip: Tip! You’re a responsible adult, so you really can’t get away with not tipping if that’s been your habit. Many people give 20% for great service, but the convention is not to include the cost of alcoholic beverages in the total. 

  7. Broke something? Bring a small toolbox to college with you with a hammer, screwdriver, nails, screws, measuring tape and, for when all else fails, duct tape. Or just bring the duct tape.

  8. Feel sick? Pack a small medical kit with antibacterial cream, bandages, pain reliever, and other medications (like allergy medications) that you take frequently. But you’re not a doctor, so if you’re really sick, go to the infirmary or call your doctor. 

Good habits start early and everything we’re encouraging you to learn how to do will be a habit that will serve you well -- and save you money -- for the rest of your life. 

Now, go pair your socks!