As summer vacation slows to an end, now is the time to be mindful of your plans for going back to school. Whether it is your first time or a returning student, many students struggle with managing their money during college. Making sure you stay on top of your finances is one of the easiest ways to live a successful and less stressed school life. This blog will give you tips on how to track your expenses, limit unnecessary spending, and more to make your college budgeting life easier.
Track your expenses
Keeping a note of your monthly expenses is the start of every successful budgeting plan. First, take all your banking statements for a month and lay them out to carefully review them. By laying out what you spend each month, you can find patterns in your old ways that may not work with this new shift. As a college student, you will face more independence than before, which could be daunting.
Taking control over your finances to ensure your food, transport, and other activities outside of school are stable is a must. College is a unique experience that can come with a roller coaster of emotions. Making sure you are level-headed about your financial literacy and dependence is key.
Create a spreadsheet
While creating a spreadsheet may seem outdated, it is still one of the best tools for organizing your budget. By taking the information you learned from tracking your spending, you can categorize and create thoughtful patterns in money distribution. We recommend having your monthly expenses written out and tallied at the end. Make sure to have generous pricing for your bills since some can fluctuate each month.
After that, take your net income and subtract the total expenses. Any leftover money from your income total can go into a savings account like one of our Statement Savings accounts. By giving yourself these organization tools, you can ensure you will not get confused or blindsided by bills or payments. Nothing feels worse than attempting to hang out with your friends on a Friday night only to find your bank account is negative. Avoid these situations altogether by tracking where your money is truly going.
Limit unnecessary spending
After creating a spreadsheet for the month, if you discover that your expenses outweighed your income, then it is time to look back at your history. If there is a consistent history of overspending or frequent negative balances then living below your means is a must. Living below your means is demonstrated by even if you can afford a purchase, maybe it would not be a wise purchase and instead could be put into a rainy day fund. Limiting your spending comes in many forms such as less fast food, online subscriptions, extra-curriculars, or more.
Changing your lifestyle to be more budget-friendly can be a lot easier than most assume. Mindful decisions such as sharing subscriptions, carpooling, or eating at home can all reduce your expenses dramatically. Another tip for college-specific costs is choosing to rent used books from school. Carpooling can be a fun way to save on transportation costs such as gas, tolls, or multiple parking passes while hanging out with friends.
Take a hard look at your expenses to see which ones you can go a few months without. The blessing in disguise for creating your spreadsheet is finding subscriptions and bills that you are paying that you forgot about or do not need. This creates more room for budgeting activities or splurges that you do desire to keep.
The truth is that a budgeting plan is only as effective as you desire it to be. While adhering to a budgeting plan is difficult gives less freedom to spend money as you, please. It is essential for a more relaxed and comfortable financial living. Being truthful with yourself about which expenses to keep especially when venturing into a new part of your life is a hard pill to swallow. However, being able to make tough financial decisions is one of the most defining factors of becoming an adult and entering society. College is all about experiences and new life journeys, with moderation anything can be inside your budgeting plan. Make sure to enjoy the college experience and the rest will follow through.
Financial independence is a daunting goal and many struggle to take hold of it. However, with these tips, we hoped to give you some tips and a boost in confidence to take control of your financial goals.
Feel free to check out any of our financial resources from Auburn Savings, come inside and visit a branch and one of our Customer Representatives can assist you. At Auburn Savings, we nurture relationships, foster ambition, and are driven by purpose—you come first. Bank On Us.