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Keep your finances on track: budget solutions

BRIANNA+SCHREURS
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Keep your finances on track: budget solutions

BRIANNA SCHREURS

BRIANNA SCHREURS

BRIANNA SCHREURS

BRIANNA SCHREURS

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head

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The beginning of the semester brings a fresh perspective with new classes, different housing and exciting activities to experience. It is also a time to get a new perspective on your finances. If you are just starting college, managing your finances may be something new for you. If you are returning, you may have developed some habits which need to be adapted.

Managing your finances, no matter how much money you have, does not have to be complicated. 

You need to know how much you have to spend, what you need to spend the money on and how much you should be saving.

Working with a budget, or spending plan, is essential for managing personal finances. When your income is irregular, such as when you are a college student, it may be difficult to develop a plan that will get you through the semester.

To develop a budget, you first need to know how much money you have to spend for a period of time. If you know you will not get any more funds for the rest of the semester, divide the amount you have by four. That amount is the money you have to spend each month of the semester. If you know you will have monthly income, that is the number you will work with.

Next, figure out your expenses. Some expenses are fixed (amount paid each month is the same) such as rent, cell phone bill and loan payments. Some expenses are flexible (amount paid each month varies) such as food, transportation, entertainment and clothes.

The last step is to calculate your savings. Yes, even college students should save money, because of the unexpected expenses that occur that you did not plan for, like a flat tire or an extra textbook your favorite professor is insisting you should buy.

How do you put all this information together? Create an Excel file, find a budgeting app or use the Budget Wizard at www.cashcourse.org. Cash Course is a personal finance program designed specifically for college students.

When you go to this site, set up your login, select South Dakota and SDSU for the college and develop your budget using the Budget Wizard tool. This tool allows you to make changes, track your spending and keep that good feeling about your finances.

Still needs more information about how to develop a budget? For more articles about personal finance and managing your money go to www.igrow.org.

No matter what amount of money you have to spend, budgeting will guide you in making decisions and having control over your finances. Work with your budget regularly to develop a plan that works for you. 

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head is a Family Resource Management Field Specialist. For questions or assistance about budgeting, contact me at [email protected]

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Keep your finances on track: budget solutions