April 8, 2014
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“Broke.” I’d say that’s an adjective college students have used to describe themselves at least once in college. I can’t remember how many times my checking account was overdrawn freshman year. Living on a tight budget can be difficult at times, but it isn’t impossible! I’m no expert in finance but here are a few tips from experiences I have had with managing my mullah.
Get a Job
With the hectic schedules of class and extracurricular activities, having a job can seem daunting. I personally believe it’s necessary to work while in school. There are many campus and local jobs in Athens to take advantage of. Working in the dining hall isn’t the most glamorous job, but it is a job nonetheless. There are work opportunities in Baker Center, Alden library and many other campus buildings, as well as internships. Work experience while in school not only looks great on your resume – it plants the seeds of learning to track your spending. Money from Mom and Dad is great, but there is a financial consciousness and accountability that comes with having to spend your own money.
Be Financially Aware
Be honest about your spending habits. How much money do you spend when going out? Are you more likely so spend cash or use your credit/debit card? These are all things you should take into account when budgeting. Sit down and write out how much money you have weekly/monthly and how much you usually spend. Does it add up or are you living beyond your means? Always have some cushion. I prefer to use a debit card because it’s similar to spending cash. Be careful when using credit, because it can add up. I also don’t spend money once my account gets to a certain balance. Decide what your max amount is and hold yourself to it. Overdrawing your account comes with additional fees, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
Check your accounts & statements regularly
I check my account online everyday. You should always know how much money is in your account so you don’t overdraw it. If you download your banks app, you can get mobile alerts sent to your phone whenever your balance is under a certain amount – allowing you to keep track on the go. Also try to keep an eye on your account activity and your monthly statements. Freshman year, someone illegally used my card information to make some purchases. Thankfully, I knew right away when the $100 was spent because my bank alerted me via smartphone , causing me to immediately check my account history. Since then, I have made it a point to stay cognizant of account activity.
The 20 percent rule
My mom always told me to put 20% of every paycheck into my savings account. Now let’s be real, sometimes there’s a pair of shoes or a concert that takes precedence, but saving is a great habit to start right NOW.
You can be frugal and still have fun! You deserve it! Regularly getting out/doing something nice for yourself is more cost efficient than splurging. Always have some money set aside to treat yourself.
Again, these are standards I’ve established for myself and how I handle my money. It’s worked out very well for me and I am proud of how responsible I have been with my spending this year. Here are also some links to additional tips, plans and advice.
What do you do to budget your money?
Malindi Robinson is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @matrixxmal.
Looking for more resources? Here are some links to help you with budgeting.