Budgeting – a dreaded topic at the federal and at the personal level, especially for a college student. If you look back to the budgeting story earlier in the issue, you will see that adults are adamant that we (the young kiddos) keep track of our money, and yet we never seem to have time.
ortunately for me I grew up in a frugal family. Both of my parents taught Junior Achievement, I was given a bank account for my fifth birthday from my grandfather and my father looks like the mirror image of Dave Ramsey, the king of all things financial. It’s not a coincidence that I know the ins and outs of money.
o let me give you some tips.
One: Recognize what you really need, and what’s a want.
e were taught this in kindergarten you guys; I know because my mom reinforces it each year when she goes to teach it to the kindergartners in my hometown. You don’t need to go shopping each week; you don’t need to buy a coffee from Starbucks every morning and you most definitely do not need to buy anything that would need a credit card, unless absolutely necessary.
ome of you might be yelling at me, saying that these things are impossible, and some of you might say these things don’t apply for you, but there are other things that people spend their money on that aren’t necessary, it doesn’t just have to apply to lattes and skirts.
Two: Assess where your money goes.
check my bank account daily, and I probably have an unhealthy obsession with my money management, but even on a monthly and yearly basis you should look back and see where your money is going. If a larger portion of your spending than you want is going toward areas like entertainment or home, miscellaneous (i.e. Walmart), then you know something needs to change. So…
Three: Set up a budget.
Seriously, even something small is better than nothing. Especially if your main focus is in saving the majority of your money rather than letting it get wasted on Starbucks drinks.
or example, when I was in high school and had a part-time job I worked on a percentage system as a budget; 50 percent of my paycheck went toward my savings account, 10 percent went to some sort of charity (church usually), 15 percent went to food, 10 percent went to my “wants” and the rest of my money was left in my checking account in case of emergencies.
henever my account went over $250, I would move whatever extra money I had into my savings, mostly because I’ve lost my card more than 10 times within the past two years, so I need to be careful. But really, whatever you do, make sure that you’re planning and saving and keeping track of everything. It’s important.
Four: Be a smart spender.
It’s better to buy a Keurig and make your highly addictive, drug induced beverage than paying the extra costs of labor at a coffee shop. It’s better to buy more expensive clothes from Express or Banana Republic than to buy the cheap, low-quality clothes from Forever 21 (seriously, I wear a dress from there twice and it’s already in shreds). And if you can swing it, never ever use a credit card. Credit cards are what cause people to fall into thousands of dollars in debt… right after student loans.
he most important thing you can do is try and crawl out of the already enormous student loans we’re all trying to run away from, and this can be done by budgeting and saving. It’s better to start paying your loans off now than saving it for later. That way you can look forward to paying all of your other loans and debt off once you’re out of college.
Makenzie is majoring in journalism. She can be reached at [email protected]