HU How To: Creating a College Budget

Budgeting in college can be almost harder than passing a class. In the first semester of college, most collegiettes find themselves spending more money than they have and harassing their parents for more cash way too often. Creating a budget, whether it’s monthly, weekly, or daily can eliminate stress about money and work; and even better, can assist in successfully saving! Here are a few steps that you should take to create a budget that works for you and to make sure that you have enough to spend on what you need and even what you want.

1. Save/Spend

Everyone’s got this problem, how much of your money do you save and how much do you spend? It differs for everyone, but figuring this out is the key to having a successful budget. There’s a secret, everyone should have a savings and a checking account, not one or the other. Second secret, you should always save more than you spend.

Now that sounds easy, save more than you spend, have two accounts, sounds a bit like the advice your mom gave you, doesn’t it? The difficult part comes when you have to divide your money between both accounts, how much goes where? The average way to save is to put half into each account, but the smart way is to put 75 percent into savings and only 25 percent into checking.

2. What’s necessary? (Not important to you, but actually needed)

So now you know how to save money, but what do you do with what you have to spend? Divide it up each month; determine how much you want to spend a week and then figure out what you truly need. Most people have to pay a phone bill, maybe car insurance, and gas, sometimes even rent. Allow for that; deduct that from your monthly allowance first, because if you can’t pay the bills you can’t afford that $100 dress at Nordstrom either.

3. Extra Money

Yeah that’s right I said extra money, never thought that would happen did you? If you save correctly, and budget your bills, you can always have a little cash to spend. Now don’t take that entire budget and blow it at the mall in one trip that will lead you down a very dark road of debt. Instead, use it to take trips with school, your friends, even a significant other.

Try to plan trips ahead of time, that’ll give you the room to figure out if you have enough money for it, or if you have to wait it out until the next time.

4. Prepare for special occasions

Prepare for things that you know are going to cost a lot, birthdays, vacations, dues; if you don’t stay ahead on that, you will probably never be able to have leisure money. Determine how much you think you will need for this instance and how much you have saved up already. It’s best to take part of it from savings and some of it from extra money that you have.

5. Manage the Monster!

Most importantly, stay away from online shopping, it can be awful if you let it get to you. Avoid sitting in econ or math, and surfing Delia’s website for a cute new pair of boots, that will probably end in some nasty credit card bills and a not so happy wallet. A good budget is always the key to a happy wallet.