One of the key things I have struggled with while attending college is budgeting. At the start of the month I feel like I have enough money to last, but then two weeks later I am wondering where my money has gone and how I am going to make it to the end. I bet everyone has been in this struggle at one point or another. And the areas in like that take our money vary from person to person like clothes, groceries, or eating out too much.
Below are a list of tips that have helped me with managing my budget and helping me save some cash here and there:
Tip 1:Realistic About Your Budget
Start by focusing on how much money you are going to have for the month. Then figure out how much you are willing to budget per each spending category like rent, groceries, bills, restaurants, clothes, etc. This helps to give you an overall idea of the budget you will be working with for the month or year even.
Tip 2: Guess High for Expenses
Doing this will give you wiggle room later on during the month. For instance, you thought you were going to have to pay $60 per week for groceries but two of the weeks you only spent $40. So that extra crash can be used for another category or put into your savings.
Tip 3: Always Keep Your Goal in Mind
Whether that goal is to save for a place after college or just to save for a trip coming up, it is always good to keep a goal in mind. This allows you to always be aware of your spending and keep you on track so you don’t accidently go roaming through a clothing websites and buy 5 different scarves just cause you can.
Tip 4: Cant Keep Track of Paper, Use an App!
The need to save every paper receipt and to store them somewhere sounds impossible and just annoying. Plus nowadays nobody goes anywhere without their phone so why not use an app. An app that I use to budget my expenses and love is Mint. This connects with your bank account and breaks up your expenses into categories. You can set the amount you are willing to spend in each category and Mint will alert you when you are getting close to passing that limit. It also allows you to get savings goals for yourself. Overall it is really easy use to use and designed beautifully.
For more info on the app:
Tip 5: Minimize Your Plastic
The amount of credit cards you can open nowadays baffle me. Whether it is through your bank or at one of your favorites stores the possibilities seem endless and all to tempting. The best thing you can do is minimize the number of cards you open because managing all those various accounts can be confusing and lead to forgetfulness.
Tip 6: Stuff Happens!
Above all never forget that life is unexpected and that if your bust your budget on something that you really wanted to do that week it okay, just make it up next week!
I know once I get out of college the need to budget will be that much more important because bills and expenses that I haven’t even thought about now will become apart of my life. So think ahead and master the art of budgeting because money makes the world go round!
by Rachel Frazer, graphic designer