When I was little my parents would sometimes give me a dollar; for cleaning the kitchen or behaving well in school. Back then, a dollar to me, meant I was rich. I was basically rolling in money when having two or more dollars to my name. Quite frankly, my twenty-year-old-self is still happy having five dollars to her name. Five dollars is good enough for a coffee and I require a bit of it to get me through the quarter and all the more to get me through midterms and finals; so, five dollars is still a pretty neat deal. The only thing is that those five dollars are no long enough to make me feel like I am rolling in money. I am not rich with five dollars, I am not rich at all. Being a college student, living on my own in a city I don’t know, means one big thing: I need to budget my money. Being financially literate I realized is just as important as being able to read road signs.
To begin with I didn’t even realize there was a thing as being financially literate. I mean money being so complexed it requires a new form of literacy is already daunting. The truth it, being financially literate is just like any other form of literacy, it takes practice. Coming into college I wasn’t as unfamiliar with budgeting my money as maybe some of you were. My situation before college was different in the sense that my dad worked so much I had been practically living alone for most of my life and new the basics of handling things for myself. My dad would live money on the table, before getting me a debit card, and I would have to live off of that for the month. I would have to take into account expenses like groceries, bills, and personal spending left over. I always seemed to have plenty of spending money but not a lot of groceries or visa versa. I got around okay for a teenager with no real understanding of money or the future.
When coming to college and living completely on my own I quickly realized I need to up my budgeting game. I need to really learn how to handle and understand my money, especially once I began working and no longer received anything from my parents. As a writer, I am a reader, and after my first paycheck disappeared into thin air I began to read. I sought out advice from the voice online on how to budget, how to save, how to make sure I don’t end up with negatives in my account. I learned things that seem like common sense but aren’t such as the 50, 30, 20 percent guideline. 50 percent of your income is meant to go to your needs, 30 percent to your wants, and 20 percent to your savings. I learned the importance of prioritizing my spending. Which basically means stop wasting money on little things like subscriptions to something I don’t really need or use. With being financially literature isn’t just about having money for the now, which seems like it should be common sense but it becomes very difficult to worry about future you struggling financially when present you is broke as hell. But set financial goals is just as important as setting career goals or personal goals because it is the money that help most of your goals become achievable.
I am still learning to be financially literate, how to manage my money in a way that is beneficial to both current me and future me. What has really helped me is other women going through the same thing. I learned most of my knowledge from a great online blog site called The Everygirl. This blog site has stories from real women handling what life throws at them. A great help to me was their blog entry on starting a budget, holding myself accountable for it, and habits to become financially successful. In order to keep being the queen bees that we are we need to be financially literature and think through our purchases. Those five dollars you spend on a latte will feel less painful to give away when you have educated yourself on your finances.