Lessons about paying college bills

billsWe are a few weeks into the first semester of freshman year, and our twins are learning quickly that time can be just as important as money. Where before they had me – Mom–to nag them about papers due and projects coming up, they only have themselves now.

They have both gotten busy with campus life. Our son pledged a fraternity and has activities almost every day. And our daughter’s sorority keeps her busy, too. They have the thrill every week of attending a big SEC football game, not to mention the lengthy tailgates before each game and the parties after the win. Well, sometimes a loss.

And they’re really keeping their grades up. Both of them have always been excellent students, and they seem bent on maintaining this in college, despite all the other fun stuff. Our son seems to be able to keep all his class stuff in his head; he rarely uses a calendar. Our daughter writes down everything. She keeps a planner with a calendar where she records everything she needs to do. I think it’s important for them to see what works for their particular personality. This is an important part of growing up. You don’t just do what the teacher says anymore. You find out what works for you. And they seem to be doing just that!

They’ve also seen how expensive life is outside of their family nest. I will have to say they have been pretty good about using their money wisely. But they did have one incident that taught them a real lesson, about money and about time.

Our son thought his sister was taking care of the water bill, and she thought he was paying it. Needless to say, it didn’t get paid. And guess what! No water. The water company simply turned it off for lack of payment.

I’ll have to say I was really angry at my children for this. I pointed out the account is in my name, and when it doesn’t get paid, it reflects on my credit history. Then I suggested having the statement mailed to me. My son’s answer was the best it could be. He said, “No, Mom. We need to be accountable for our bills. That’s one of the reasons we’re here. We need to learn to be adults.”

That made me proud. The bill got paid, and the water started flowing again. It was a valuable lesson, and now I’m glad it happened.


College Finances and Bills