The basics of budgeting are to form good financial habits and develop an awareness of spending. A budget is a guide that keeps you on the path to reach your financial goals. If you think of it more as a spending plan it may be easier to get a better feel of where your money goes, here’s how to get started:
Know Where Your Money Goes
What are your weekly, monthly and unexpected expenses?
Write down every penny you spend – from school expenses and bills, to your morning coffee and pack of gum!
It can be as simple as using a notebook or download a free app on your phone, such as Mint or Expensify.
Use this simple worksheet to track your weekly spending
Create Your Spending Plan!
You can download an app on your phone or use this worksheet to create your complete spending plan
Review and Adjust Your Plan
After the first month, evaluate how you did and make any changes your feel are necessary. For example, what happens if your expenses are more than your income?? You will either need to increase your income or reduce your expense.
1. Make your own coffee
2. Pack snacks before you leave the house, use a reusable water bottle. This reduces the amount you spend at vending machines or buying fast food, and keeps you healthy
3. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly
4. Save your loose change - Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund
5. Borrow books – see if you are able to rent books instead of purchasing them or borrow from a library. If possible, try buying used books to save costs
6. Don’t use spending money as retail therapy
7. As you move forward to make any purchases, ask yourself “Do I need it?” If you think you do, wait a bit. Don’t buy something on impulse
8. Live like a student. This means living within your means. Evaluate your wants and needs, remember that you are a student first!
Additional Resources Feed The Pig - Helpful tools, articles & tons of tips to help you on your path to financial stability
My Money - Information, games and fun facts about money, saving and planning for the future
360 Degrees of Financial Literacy - Tons of interactive tools to help you understand personal finances through every stage of your life
TG Adventures in Education - Free online resources developed to help students plan and complete their journey through higher education