Managing a budget is not as hard as it sounds. Making the
initial commitment to live according to your budget is the
hardest part. If you have done that, you are well on your
way to wise spending and saving.
What is a budget?
It is simply a written plan for spending your money. You will
spend your money; a budget just helps you to spend it wisely.
Managing your budget
Prepare a budget worksheet. You can make one yourself, or
use a pre-made form. To make your own, just write down your
income in one column and your expenses in another column,
then compare the two.
You will learn a great deal about your financial situation
by taking this first step. If you are like most people, you
will find that your income is less than your expenses. You
are now informed about it though, and can take the necessary
action to change your situation.
Start tracking your incidental expenses. You know where the
bulk of your money is going, but what about all those little
extras? This is a very important step if you are serious about
finding ways to stretch your money. Find a small notebook,
and jot down all money spent each day on meals, snacks, gas,
impulse purchases, and entertainment. After you have done
this for a few days, you will start noticing how the small
things really add up, and where you can start cutting back.
Learn all you can about budgeting, spending, and saving your
money. The library offers many free resources to help you
with this. Talk to your friends, parents, and teachers about
what they have learned about budgeting and saving their money.
Live a frugal lifestyle. Shop Smart and Spend Less.
Try these frugal living suggestions:
• Define your wants verses your needs. Concentrate on spending
money only on your needs.
• Don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. They are bad for you, addictive,
and cost money. You don't need them.
• If at all possible, keep a savings account. Pay yourself
• Use everything to its full potential. Don't waste anything.
• Recycle and reuse study materials such as pencils, pens,
• Don't spend money around the plans you make. Make plans
around the money you have after all your responsibilities
• Don't be tempted by your friends' spending habits.
• Make the most of the college's meal plan, and any college
events where there is free food.
• Use your tuition money wisely. Always take the maximum number
of credits allowed.
• Get an on-campus job.
• Make things yourself instead of buying them whenever possible.
• Shop smart when buying groceries and household items. Use
coupons. Shop the sales. Stock up on discounted non-perishable
items. Foods like milk, butter, and cheese can be frozen.
Don't buy soft drinks, unless they are on sale, or store brand.
Drink water. Do not spend money on snack machines.
• Shop smart when buying clothes. Do not pay retail prices.
Shop thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales, clearance
racks, and buy during off seasons. Don't buy any item that
requires dry cleaning. Consider consigning your own clothes
to earn some money.
• Email or write instead of calling home.
These are just a few ideas that you can use to start living
a more frugal life, and to successfully manage your budget.
Learning how to manage your budget in college will help you
immensely. The decisions you make early on will effect you
later in life. Use your time and money wisely.