Budgeting Guidelines for your First Year in College
Knowing how to manage your money is a skill that will last you a lifetime. If you’re about to enter college and you’re worried about your financial situation, don’t panic! Today as part of the college news on our blog, we’re offering you different tips and tricks to help you maintain a tight budget. Who knows? If you save money in the right places, you may even be able to afford that cool jacket you’ve been wanting.
Here are some basic budgeting guidelines for your first year in college.
Create a monthly budget
How much money do you have in your bank account? How much money will you have coming in this month, whether from financial aid, a part-time job or other sources? Creating a monthly budget will answer these questions and will allow you to set your priorities and have better control over your finances. Be positive about your budget! Take the time to do it properly. You can consider upcoming events in your education news that you’d like to save up for and even use colour highlighters or stickers to make it more fun. If you view creating your budget as a chore, it’ll get tiresome pretty fast. Instead, try to view your budget as an occasion to determine your personal goals and objectives. Lastly, not every week will be the same. Some weeks you’ll have higher expenses, as you went out with your friends or bought a video game for entertainment. That’s okay. Just make sure it averages out over the course of the month.
Keep track of your spending
Save those receipts! Ask for a receipt for every transaction you make, from lunch at the cafeteria to purchasing educational articles from the bookstore. By knowing where your money goes, you’ll understand better where you can cut or what habit you should change. Even something as simple as coffee in the morning, depending on your habits, can be a huge drain on your budget. Once you realize how little purchases here and there, like having lunch on the go instead of brining your own, add up, you’ll be able to control your buying impulses much better, as each small purchase will make you think of the disastrous total amount at the end of the month.
Don’t rely on your credit card
Credit cards can be trouble. When you’re on a budget, it’s normal to feel tempted to treat yourself to a new outfit or a night out. Credit cards make it easy: You feel as if you’re spending imaginary money, getting goods without money having to exit your bank account. Maxing out your credit card is a bad idea, one that can potentially throw your budget completely off-balance. Imagine graduating with student loan debts AND credit card debt – talk about a nightmare! Instead, try to use your credit card only for emergencies. If you shop online using your credit card a lot, that’s fine, just as long as you reset you credit card back to zero every few weeks.