Budgeting: How to save money without losing out on any fun

Paige Tillinghast – Special to the Southern News

Budgeting at any point in your life can be an extremely useful tool in order to save money, however, being college students it might be even more vital for us at this point in our lives.

College is expensive and even after you graduated most students will still owe loans for quite some time. In addition, if you have to pay for groceries or gas you have to take that into account every week as well.

For most, college is the first time that students are essentially on their own and it could be considered a test drive for the real world that’s fast approaching. Many aren’t aware of just how much things can cost and are often surprised when they end up spending way more than they planned.

However, if you need to watch your spending habits or you simply just want to be more frugal, then there are several steps or tips to keep in mind.

1. Make a list of what you need to spend money on
One of the first and most important steps in beginning this process is to start a list of what you will be putting your money towards either weekly or monthly. This could include things such as rent for an apartment, groceries, gas, tuition, movies, clothing, etc. Even if you don’t end up buying something such as clothes a particular month it’s still a good idea to write it down and keep track of that.

money jar

Jar of money Photo Credit: Steven Depolo

2. Figure out what you have
Knowing exactly how much money you either have or will be making weekly/ monthly is also imperative in maintaining your budget plan. If you have a job you’ll most likely get money taken out of your paycheck due to taxes and so that will need to be taken into account. If one month or week’s income differs from another you should keep track of that and make adjustments if or when needed.

3. Plan how much you can spend
Furthermore, when you figured out how much money you have for a certain period of time, you can start planning how much you can spend in those areas you created a list for. Budgeting sounds tough and might seem like you have to cut every fun or enjoyable thing out, but that’s far from true.

Just because you want to be more cautious of your money does not mean that you can’t spend some of it on things like a trip to the mall or going out to a restaurant, with anything moderation is the key. So if there’s a time that you’ve discovered you might have spent too much on something such as ordering food like pizza or Chinese, then for that next month or week you should make the needed adjustments to your plan.

Not only does budgeting save you money, but it also keeps you more organized as a result. By staying organized with something as important as your income and spending habits the rest of your life or activities might become easier to manage as well.

Budgeting may sound scary and grown-up at first, but it’s honestly something that any one can do. It’s also important to keep in mind that others might have a different kind of budgeting plan than yours. So if yours isn’t the exact same as theirs that’s perfectly all right, because what may work for them might not work for you.

And remember that over time your budgeting plan may need adjusting as you progress into your future and your career. Incomes may fluctuate and what you need to spend money on may also change as well.

As long as you keep the basics in mind and make the needed changes, your budget plan should be successful. If not, there are always professionals who could help you manage such details, aid in keeping track of your finances, and also suggest what you need to do in order to fix your plan.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey 



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