Starting out the year for college students is a magical time with a bank account filled all the way to the top. After spending the fall semester breaking into the fund that a summer job brought and working through winter break to build up a small amount of what you lost, something important comes to mind… Budgeting.
Creating a budget is something no one ever really wants to do but for people with such limited funds, like college students, it’s super important to decide what to spend money on and how much is allowed.
As intimidating as a budget can be, here are a few beginner tips to helps start budgeting in unique ways.
Put money in “Jars”
If you aren’t a fan of the spreadsheet budgeting or the more generic ways of saving money, try this fun way.
Have separate jars for services or products you need to spend money on. For example a jar for food, necessities, fun and bills. Put cash into the jars that are your allowed amount for the month. Like $200 for food, $100 for necessities, $100 for fun and whatever you need to pay off bills and monthly payments.
This is a fun way to budget because you can physically see the money going away and how much is actually being spent on the certain jars.
Take a guess at how much you believe you are spending each month. High or low, whatever the number, compare it to the actual average amount you spend each month and find out what is happening with your money.
Once finding out what expenses aren’t necessary, cut them out and watch the funds grow.
Transfer funds into savings
Throughout the summer, winter or whenever you have a job, transfer a percentage of your paycheck into the savings account at the bank. This can really help to build up a safety net come the end of a semester.
It can also help come holidays or special occasions when you want to buy something special for someone. No matter what it is always important to have a backup.
Once you reach a goal of saving up a certain amount of money, or even keeping with your budget for x amount of days, give something as a reward. Nothing huge but an incentive to create a positive message in your mind that budgeting can be fun and rewarding.
Go get your favorite cheesecake for desert or get a dollar drink from the McDonalds drive through. Something small but something you can enjoy.
Budgeting is a hard concept to grasp for some and can be confusing. As long as you stick with it and have some fun you’ll watch the numbers in the bank go up rather than down.