Learn to Budget Your Money

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

Dear Heather,

In my first year living off-campus my friend and I managed to find a nice apartment close to campus. The problem is now, my friend doesn’t think she will be able to afford to pay the rent, and is already asking me to cover her half. We both signed a one year lease and I am barely making enough money for my half of the bills. What can I do to help her to pay her own way?

~Frustrated Roommate

Dear Frustrated Roommate,

This is college and money is tight for almost everybody and you must cut corners. Your roommate needs to know that.

Next time she asks for a little help with rent, ask her what she has spent her money on recently. Does she go on shopping trips often, does she eat out several nights a week or is she downtown most weekends?

These are all things that we don’t need and can be quite spendy. Tell her that each month she needs to make sure she has enough for rent, and whatever money she has left can be spent to her leisure.

This means she needs to avoid impulse shopping and before she buys anything she needs to ask herself “do I really need this?”

She can also cut corners on groceries. Both of you can buy Sunday’s paper and cut out coupons for products you buy because 50 cent savings can really add up.

Also, don’t buy brand name products. I understand there are some things that taste better or work better, but she may need that extra $1 to pay the cable bill or she could use it for a night downtown. Another way to save money is to eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables are much cheaper and healthier than fried foods or candy bars. She can save a lot money that will add up.

Your roommate should also set up a good way to balance her money. She needs to balance her check book daily and check her savings and checking account balances weekly. She should designate a certain amount of money to spend each month. She can always go under that amount, but never over.

If she knows she has a trip coming up in a few months, she should cut back in the previous months to have money for that trip.

These are all simple things that both of you can do. Just make sure you have your priorities straight. Having a good apartment to live in should always be on top of that list.

Send your questions for Edward Kearns and Heather Mangan to [email protected]