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Welcome to The College Student's Guide To Money! In this series, Chelsea Fagan, host of the popular YouTube series The Financial Diet, will walk through the money basics every college student and new graduate needs to know to get their finances under control, from paying off student debt to growing credit — while still having a life.

College students exhausting income statistics:

Average student debt statistics:

University of Arizona study:

The Financial Diet site:

Hello, my name is Chelsea Fagan, and I am the founder of a company called the Financial Diet.

We talk about money in a lot of different places. We have a YouTube channel that you may have seen before.

We have a website. We do books. We do events.

We're on social media. Basically, the Financial Diet is all about helping people talk about money and learn about money, especially when they don't want to. And I actually started the Financial Diet, because I was so personally bad with and terrified of money.

By the time I was 22, I had completely destroyed my credit score. I had no savings. I owed tons of money.

I had debts that had gone into collections. I had been arrested for issues stemming from unpaid bills. I was having to constantly ignore my phone or keep it on silent, because I had so many collectors calling me.

And I genuinely spent almost every waking moment in some kind of state of money anxiety. My negative relationship with money came from a lot of different things. When I was a kid growing up, we experienced a lot of financial insecurity, which made me very irresponsible when I finally got some money of my own and want to spend it on everything that I felt that I couldn't have.

I also in my teen years lived in an area where many, many wealthy people lived. So I constantly felt like I had to compare myself to those people and wanted to spend myself into feeling more like them. And also, probably like many of you all through my schooling, I never really got a financial education.

I didn't understand a lot of the core terms or what I was really supposed to be doing with my money. But at 22 when I finally started earning money in a more substantial way, it wasn't a ton. But it was enough to be able to do things, like pay off my defaulted credit card and start putting a little bit away into savings every month.

I decided that I didn't want to live like that with money anymore. So slowly but surely, I started building on my good financial habits and learning more and more about how I could use my finances to control and shape the life that I wanted to live. Then at 25, I started the Financial Diet as a Tumblr to track my own personal financial progress and hold myself accountable.

And very quickly, it started to build into the fully fleshed media company that operates today. We're a team of eight employees and an office in Manhattan, all women, and all of us are dedicated every day to talking and learning about money. So that's what this guide is all about.

For most of us, especially college students, money feels like a really scary and overwhelming topic. And when we think about all of the things that we learned growing up, even all the way through high school, and even in college, it feels sometimes like we were given so much kind of useless information that has no real practical application in our lives. But we're almost never talked to practically about money, and learning about money can feel incredibly intimidating in addition to being boring, which is a really rough combination.

There's so much to learn. There are so many conflicting opinions and so many technical terms. So this series is all about introducing you to the basics of money in a buildable way from a total beginner status, and it is extremely important to start building the right money habits and education in college.

In 2016, more than 60% of college students exhausted their funds from all sources of income, such as student loans, income, and parental contributions during a semester for a variety of reasons ranging from unexpected expenses to a change in financial aid. And the choices that you're making during college or even that you made before can have a huge impact on your financial future. As of 2018, about 70% of college graduates had some student debt at graduation with an average debt load of about $37,000.

And according to the Federal Reserve, this debt translates to an average of about $400 a month paid towards student loans, which can have a huge impact on what new graduates are able to do with their money. Things like building up an emergency fund, saving for retirement, possibly buying a home, or even just building up the financial freedom to do something, like start a business or travel extensively, are all seriously undercut by having to repay those student loans. And while it may seem like all of that loan repayment and budgeting stuff is a problem for future you, studies show that building good financial habits in college can have a profoundly positive impact on your future financial life.

A University of Arizona study showed that students who made good financial choices in their last year of college had a less stressful transition to adult life with less strain on their interpersonal relationships and less delay in forming an adult identity. Basically, already having a financial foundation to build off of dramatically decreased stress and anxiety. For some of us who have help during college or do not have a lot of regular bills to pay, it can be an ideal time to begin creating savings habits.

And if you are responsible for financing your own college education and are perhaps working during school to offset monthly bills, that financial knowledge is going to come in handy immediately. So this guide will be all about giving you the tools that you need to start putting those good habits in place now. Remember that you do not have to wait until you have a lot of money to start thinking about it proactively and learning what to do with it.

Something I often say here at TFD is that, even if you only have $10 a month, you should create a budget for those $10, and know exactly where those $10 are going, and what you want to do with them. Learning how to be good with money is not something that you can put off to a distant future self, and it's also not something that will only come in handy if you have a ton of money to work with. So each of these videos is going to explore a core money topic along with strategies, examples, and advice on how to get good with that particular money topic.

Because trust me. Wherever you are with your finances, you're not as bad as I was in college. And if I could get better with money, so can you.

Don't forget to check out the next episode in our guide to getting good with money for college students. And for all things talking about money, don't forget to check out the Financial Diet here on YouTube or all around the internet.