Vices That Are Making College Students Go Broke

Are you a broke college student? Do you know why you’re a broke student?

[Note from MD: This is a guest post. I personally wouldn’t write such an article because it would be very hypocritical of me. However, it’s important that we look at both sides of every coin. Enjoy.]

The college years are a wonderful time of self-discovery, self-awareness and self-reliance and these can be daunting to some people ill-equipped to handle the sudden freedom when they leave home to pursue their studies and further their growth as individuals. Sometimes that freedom comes with a terrible price – one which parents often wind up paying.

Here are the top college student vices that are making you broke.

Poor Study Habits.

This seemingly innocuous bad habit appears at first glance to be a minor irritant at best, one your child will outgrow eventually. But poor study habits lead to failed courses, even repeated semesters. When you consider the cost of college this bad habit can put you in the poor house before school’s out. You’d save money getting your child their own apartment and paying their expenses for a year while they contemplated their navels instead of sending them off to college to take the same courses again and again.


A strong case could be made that this is the most expensive bad habit students get into once the ‘shackles’ are off. College drinking is legendary and can lead to a host of problems big, small and costly. Not only are college kids likely to spend all their money on beer (thus hitting you up for more) but drinking can lead to long-term addiction – the cost of which is not just measured by dollars and cents. Plus excessive drinking can lead to those costly poor study habits mentioned above.


Another staple of college life, partying is something of a rite of passage. But it can be a dangerous one as well as costly. Large groups of drunken teens are trouble waiting to happen. Property damage, arrests, trips to the emergency room to treat injuries from fighting, horseplay or stunts will break the bank while breaking your heart.


Much like drinking, drug use on campus is a Pandora’s Box of woes just waiting to be unleashed. And the first 3 items on this list can lead your child down this dark road. Late night cramming, all-night partying, killer hangovers… can all send your child hunting for something to help them stay ‘up’ in class. The cost here could be your child’s soul.

Testing The Limits.

College may be the first time your child has been free of parental supervision for a prolonged period of time, making it a time for him or her to test their limits, push the envelope and see what happens. The sad part here is that this is essential to their development while at the same time being costly to you and to them. Excessive speed while driving can wreck that car you bought them or worse, wreck them. Drinking and narcotics can lead to sexual indiscretions, unwanted pregnancies or sexually-transmitted diseases requiring treatment.

As you can see there is a price to be paid here that includes, yet goes beyond, mere financial concerns. It’s important that our kids understand that testing themselves is not only about discovering their limits but also exploring their own ability to control themselves, which is the personal freedom that results from being responsible for oneself for the very first time.

This article was written by Andrew Salmon.


  1. says

    I have to de-lurk for this one… I agree that some of these things can get kids in trouble in college. But, I sure would have regretted my 4 years if I stayed cooped up in my dorm room with a book by myself. I’m not saying that you’re suggesting that, I’m just pointing out that while college is a time for education, it’s also a time to sprout your social legs. Yes, college is known for parties, but you can still go to these parties and have a good time without getting out of control and doing drugs? Many kids that I hung out with in college went to parties quite a bit – but they never did drugs, they maintained good grades, and they’re successful today. Of course, if these vices became a serious problem (which happens in the minority of cases where I’m from), THEN I think the parents should take action. But college kids should be able to go out and have fun – and if their parents raised them right, they’ll be smart enough to control themselves… Additionally, many juniors and seniors are legally old enough to drink – and have part-time jobs to fund their fun. Plus, college kids know how to throw one heck of a cheap party. :)

  2. says

    It seems to me that having the right friends is the key. If someone has friends who have raves every night with abundant drugs, that person will probably become the same as them. It’s a matter of finding friends that you would like to be like. Who you hang out with determines who you’ll turn out to be.

  3. says

    Good points.. In moderation I should say.

    Drinking can lead to a lot of problems. That’s why I (almost) always drank in moderation:) Partying can also lead to trouble. For me it did not. You can party responsibly too – it IS possible….Drugs, hopefully you bring your kids up well enough so they are not tempted by this. If so… I don’t really know what to say, that’s a toughy…Poor study habits – I was cursed with this, my own fault I know. By the end of my college career I really figured this out however. My grades improved greatly.

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