Ballin’ on a Budget

Let’s be real, trying to juggle work, school, internships, relationships and friendships leaves zero to little time to create yourself a budget. You most likely spend money without really knowing what you’re actually spending it on. I know I used to. When friends would tell me, “Let’s go out!” I’d pull the whole, “Oh, I wish I could, but I can’t cause I’m broke” or “I have no idea where all my money goes,” so I’d miss out on doing all the fun stuff with them. Then one day, I sat my butt down and got to creating myself a budget. I guess if you think about it, who actually wants to take some time out of their day to figure out their spending habits? Not me, but I do that ish now anyway. Why? Because it helps me figure out where all my money goes. Wouldn’t you want to know where all YOUR money is going? Trust me, it’s worth it in the long run. You’ll be able to manage your expenses better, save for large expenses, and prepare for emergencies. With these easy tips on how to budget, you’ll be ballin’ on a budget in no time!

Know What You’re Working With

Figure out how much you’ll be making and spending each month. The more accurate your numbers are, the more likely you are to stick to your budget. This will help you to be more aware of how much money you having coming in and going out.    

Save Your Receipts

Save your receipts for an entire month. Yes, one month! The more receipts you save, the better you’ll be able to pinpoint where exactly most of your money is going. Yes, most of us like to throw away the receipts right after we get them, but saving them will save you money.    

Keep Your Bills Organized

Keep your bills organized and note how much they come out to per month. This will help you see how much money you should put aside for your bills each month and might even let you see if you’re using too much of your credit cards, electricity, gas, phone data, etc.

Understand Your “Needs” vs. “Wants”

Understand your “needs” and “wants”. The way I think of them is a “need” being something that is absolutely essential for my survival (i.e., food, water, etc.) and “want” as being something of a luxury for my life (i.e., the new Beats Headphones or MAC lipstick I’ll never wear).  

Don’t Try to Keep Up with Your Friends

We all have different financial circumstances. Sometimes your friends might have more income coming in than you and it’s okay, so don’t feel pressured to try and keep up with them. Tell them your situation, they’ll usually understand. Don’t break your bank if you don’t have to.

Use Credit Cards/Cash Wisely

Be aware of how much you are swiping/handing away. It’s easy to hand your credit card over, without paying attention to your balance. With cash, it’s a little more manageable, but it doesn’t mean you can hand it out like there’s no tomorrow.  

Make Your Savings An “Expense”

Decide how much money you’d like to save each month and put it in a piggy bank or your bank account. These savings could help with your short-term purchases (i.e., the new shoes you’ve been eyeing), long-term purchases (i.e. a car), or in the event of an emergency.  

Budget Time

Now that you know what you have to do to create your budget, it’s time to put it all together. Use a spreadsheet or create your own document for your budget. I’ve found a table to be most effective. Make it your own. There are tons of templates out there!    

Align Your Budget With Your Goals & Values

After you’ve created your budget, make sure you’ve been following it like you initially wanted to. It helps to jot down some financial goals/values you want for yourself and see if you’ve been following them throughout your budget. If not, then you can easily correct it!

Forgive Yourself

Lastly, forgive yourself for occasional overspending. We’re only human and we can’t stick to our budget 100% of the time. If you overspend, forgive yourself, and focus on getting yourself right back on track.  

Just because we’re college students doesn’t mean we are always strapped for cash, so hopefully, after going through these tips you’ll be making that money last!