Greetings and Blessings!!!
Hope you ladies are doing well!! In this post I wanted to talk about the one thing that most of us don’t like to do and that is budgeting. Budgeting requires a lot of discipline and in the long run it will be of great help to you as you get older. When I went away to school I honestly did not use my money wisely as I should have. If I was going to the mall or out to eat with friends, I didn’t pay attention to what and how I was spending the money I had. I did pay for it sometimes in terms of if I needed something I didn’t have the finances to get it. I learned the important difference between “wants” versus “needs”. Being a young adult now, its still challenging because sometimes I see something and in my head I’m like I gotta have it but I know deep down I don’t need said item(s) right at that moment.
Setting and sticking to a monthly budget can give you peace of mind. With a budget in place, you can more effectively manage your money, save for large expenses, and prepare for emergencies. Keep in mind that even though a budget is there to help you it is important that you don’t stress out over it. This is something that you will work and gradually learn about as you get older. It’s almost impossible to follow a budget 100% of the time. No matter how disciplined you may be, you may overspend now and again. Forgive yourself for any small errors. So here are some tips that can help you when it comes to having a budget.
1. Budget your money. First, assess how much you’re going to have available for the school year (you can budget by semester or quarter if you like). This includes the amount you’re starting with from savings and financial aid, as well as the amount you’ll bring in each week through work study, a part-time job or other means. Then divide the total by the number of weeks in the term, and that gives you a good idea of how much money you can spend each week.
But remember that not every week will be exactly the same. One week you may spend less than the allotted amount. Another week you may end up spending a little extra. That’s okay as long as it averages out correctly over the course of the term.
2. Track your spending. Write down how much you spend each week and what you spend it on. This will help you assess where your money is going and give you ideas on where to cut back.
3. Be realistic. As a student on a limited budget, you are not going to be able to afford some of the things you WANT. Most luxuries are going to be few and far between, and some may be eliminated completely. It is important to know and understand that buying one thing means you can’t buy something else, so necessities take priority.
4. Use credit cards only for emergencies. Credit cards can be great to have but in the end it can be just about every college students down fall. There will be times were the temptation to splurge on a new outfit or have a night out with your friends crosses your mind. Especially, if you’ve been living frugally for months at a time. Having a credit card and just swiping it away makes doing very easy! Even though it doesn’t FEEL like you’re paying for them.
Truth be told, you are paying for them. You’re paying INTEREST on the amount you spend. There is a vast majority of college students that end up with student loan debt. Once you graduate six months later it is time to start paying back Sallie Mae or whoever you took out a loan with. Student loan debt PLUS Credit card debt is not a pretty picture!! So if you have a credit card or thinking about applying for one, use it only when necessary.
5. Spread out what expenses you can. The beginning of the academic year tends to bring several large expenses all at once: tuition, fees, meal plan, etc. But some costs can be spread out over the course of the term or the year.
6. If you need help, ask for it. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, attempts to budget your money may not go as you had hoped. When this happens, there is a tendency to avoid asking for help, and you try to work the situation out on your own. Unfortunately, this usually leads to more problems and unnecessary debt. So if you find yourself in serious trouble, go to your family or someone whom you trust. By doing so, you are solving and managing the problem early as well as learning from your mistakes.
So these are just a few tips that can help you when it comes to starting and creating a budget. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t go as plan. It’s a learning experience and the more you do it the better you’ll become at it. Hey, I’m still learning (lol) Hope you ladies find this post helpful and useful!!!