One of the things I struggled with the most when I entered college was learning how to take care of my money. I had no idea how to create a proper budget or how to put money into savings. Following some of these tips will hopefully help make things easier for those of you who are like me.
Put money into your savings regularly
My friend has automatic savings so that when any money goes into her checking account, a certain percentage automatically goes into her savings. I personally prefer to do this manually, because I know that some weeks I can afford to put more in than other weeks. Even if its just 20 dollars every two weeks, this can add up. Its definitely good to have a decent amount of savings on hand in case of an emergency.
Learn the difference between a necessity and a luxury
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean every weekend has to be spent going out and spending money on food and entertainment. Focus on using your money on things like groceries first. For many people, this is the first time that you’ll be financially independent and you don’t want to blow your money only on things that aren’t necessary.
Create a budget
Make a list of necessities that you typically spend money on every month like bills, groceries, etc. Make an estimate of how much you’ll spend on each thing. Overestimating is better than underestimating in this case. By making a list like this, you can find out how much you can spend on luxuries, such as a night out with friends, as well as how much you can afford to put into savings this month.
Learn to say no
This is probably one of the hardest things to do on my list. During college, there will come times when your friends want to go out and you don’t quite have the money to spend. Its easy to convince yourself that you’ll be okay as long as you spend only x amount. However, you can never really anticipate how much you’ll spend on a night out. You’ll also be too worried about spending too much rather than having a good time. Tell your friends that you just don’t have the cash to spend this time around, that way you can fully enjoy yourself next time.
Online banking is a must
Online banking is the best way to keep track of any money that goes in and out of your account. I make it a point to check my account at least twice a week to make sure I didn’t get overcharged or double charged for anything. You can also deposit checks and move money between accounts easier through banking apps.
Don’t dip into your savings unless necessary
THIS IS IMPORTANT. Your savings are there for a reason. It is to be saved for emergencies and/or if you’re trying to save up for a particularly large purchase. Don’t spend money recklessly with the thought that you can just take money out of your savings.
Until next time,
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