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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UMKC chapter.

With this new school year getting into full swing, I’m sure most of your parents have talked to you about getting a job. Getting a job in Kansas City is the easy part, but figuring out the best ways to spend/save your money is the hard part. Recently, I decided to set up a monthly budget to keep track of my income and spending. I was spending so much money on the most random things during the month, and, by the end, I would be completely out of money. Now I’m actively saving for things I want and emergencies. I have money for necessities and then some, and I overall just feel so much more confident in the economic sector of my life. Here are some simple steps to get you started and hopefully motivate you to start your own budget. It’s not that hard, and the end reward is so much better than the slight computer work you’ll have to do now.


Personally, I use Microsoft Excel to make my budget, but you can really use whatever you feel most comfortable with. Google Sheets, Microsoft Word, or classic paper and pencil all work just fine. I have also recently discovered that Canva has a multitude of different templates you can use to get you organized. Excel and Word also have templates, but I like Canva templates way more than the Office ones. In order to figure out what mode will work best, play around with each website and see what tools you have available.


If you are like me and prefer freedom over templates, try to imagine what you want your budget to look like and figure out the logistics of setting up your budget. A Canva template can be nice when you aren’t sure where to start. They have so many tools you can use as well as prompts which can be super helpful. I prefer to make mine from scratch because you can customize so much more. I looked at templates to get an idea of what a budget would look like, ran with it and made it my own.

P.S. Keep in mind that Word templates have a track record of being difficult to edit.


Setting up your categories for spending is the most crucial part. Try to think about what you spend money on each month and make sure to have an extra category. I have found that defining what goes into the extra category can help with future months, and you can add more categories if necessary. The ones I use are Loans, Food, Transportation, Insurance, Ringo (my cat) and, of course, Savings. I have always struggled with saving, but I have found that I am more motivated if I name what I am saving for. For example, I really want tattoos, so on my budget I have a subcategory under Savings that is just for tattoos. Obviously, that category wouldn’t get as much money as other saving categories, but at least it makes my goal exciting.


I love the formatting, I always have. Between figuring out which font is most aesthetically pleasing to what your color theme will be, I love everything about it. Figure out what about your budget will make you want to look at it. My favorite color is green, so I used green as my theme color and I used a different font like Bell MT so that it looks different than school projects or other life documents. While this is a budget, making it as fun as possible will help you stay motivated to continue with it.


The most important but hardest part about setting up a budget is keeping up with it to figure out your projected income, regulating spending for the month and then actively keep track of everything. The more you do it and the more you get excited to budget, the easier it will be. Set aside a 20-minute time frame during your day to focus your attention purely on your budget. If you keep track of your projected income and spending and record your actual amounts, you should be totally fine. If you miss a week or even a month, it’s okay, just keep going. Maybe try to convince a friend to do this with you so you can keep each other motivated.

I have never ever been a hardcore tracking or budget person, but now that I am and I have this budget to care for, I am so happy to have something mundane and easy to do. It gives me peace of mind to know what my month will look like financially, and the best part is that I’m finally saving money! I no longer end my months with zero dollars in my account and this budget has taken such a huge weight off my shoulders. I encourage everyone to at least give it a try. You never know how it might impact you. Here are images of what my budget looks like to give you an idea of what it could look like. If you have any further questions about this, contact me on Instagram or through my Her Campus at UMKC profile.

Hello! I'm currently studying at UMKC and double majoring in English and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Journalism. I have always been a writer, a creator, and a storyteller and I am so excited to get to share that with Her Campus UMKC!