When I was in college, money was tight. I was working multiple part time jobs and going to school full time. I was going to school and studying all day, working in the evenings, then partying until the early morning. I didn’t have a lot of extra time or money.
I lived off of a very small spending budget. I shared a house with three roommates and limited myself to about $100/week in discretionary spending. In college, $100 can get you a pretty long way if you are smart.
I had one other major expense in addition to rent, tuition and food. I spend $2,500 per year to be in a fraternity. This was dollar for dollar the best money that I have every spent and likely the best money I ever will spend.
For a little less that $10,000 over a four year period, I had the time of my life. For a $200 per month I was was able to have the time of my life; today I could spend 10x this and not see anywhere near the return.
It wasn’t the fun and memories that made this the best use of money though. This $10,000 put me in a network of people that has paid me back in multiples. Being around the right group of people who influenced my decisions and set me on a path was crucial. To be honest, we were the nerdy chapter on campus. Guys got good grades, were in a lot of extra curricular activities, then graduated with top notch jobs or went to exclusive graduate schools.
While I was in school one my friends got me started in my commercial real estate career and referred my to an internship. That internship turned into a full time positions after graduation. About a year later a different friend recommended me for an even better job opportunity, this escalated my career quickly.
Two years after graduating I was talking to a third friend, shooting shit, talking different ideas. This conversation lead to us started a clothing business that we each did on the side. We didn’t get rich but we each made several thousand dollars over the course of a year doing only a few hours of work each week. More importantly, this was one of my first real entrepreneurial attempts that made money and altered my life.
Each one of these occurrences were direct results of being in a network and translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunity. If I hadn’t of joined that fraternity, I don’t know my life would have turned out, but I know it would be 100% different.
You don’t have to join a fraternity if that’s not your thing. You should try to find ways to put yourself around people you like and admire. Making commitments to be around people who are a positive influence will change you life.