Back to School: A Guide For Managing Personal Finances
It’s almost time to start another school year, which brings a new experience for some young adults: college! College is a time of many “firsts” and learning experiences. One of these “firsts” is learning how to manage finances. Jason Miller, FNBC’s Community President for Fulton County, has some tips and tricks for sticking to a budget while in college:
When attempting to stick to a plan, whether it is a diet, exercise program, or managing money, it is crucial to remember two points: It all adds up and the little things matter. Sometimes we often wait to do something until something angers or inspires us to take action. If you are constantly running your credit card and left with no money at the end of the month, you might be inspired! Well, there is good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. Listed below are five tips to sticking to a budget while in college. Feel free to use them as a guide to help you with the basics of managing money.
If you are currently sticking to a budget and already have a financial plan laid out, you need to pat yourself on the back! You are a step ahead of most others, and this insinuates you have already formed a budget. If that is not the case and this is new, don’t fret! Now is the time to start a budget.
- Make your budget a priority. The best way to exceed your budget is to forget about it or fail to properly plan. This takes time to do correctly. You have to know your income, expenses and projected expenses. The more planning that goes into your budget, the higher success rates will be to staying on budget.
- Reassess your budget. If you make a mistake, or if variables have changed (income/expenses), don’t get discouraged. Recalculate, and get back on track as soon as possible.
- Land Mines … oops, I mean credit cards. We are creatures of habit, and we sometimes go down the path of least resistance. We live in a day and age of “instant gratification,” meaning if we see something we want, we buy it now instead of delaying gratification. Sometimes you may see something you don’t know you need or want, so you don’t budget. Because you didn’t budget, you don’t have the money, but you do have that credit card … big mistake. Those purchases add up, along with those minimum monthly payments. Instead of using the credit cards, save up and budget the item you want to purchase.
- Split resources when available. You will likely have roommates while you are in college. Get creative and pool resources where applicable, such as splitting laundry detergent or the light bill. If you want to get really serious and your roommate is always leaving the lights on, you may suggest they pay a little extra than you pay.
- Ask questions. None of us have it all figured out. You are in college and laying the educational framework for your future career choice. You are not supposed to know it all. None of us know it all, however you may notice some people have it a little more figured out than others. When questions arise, and they will, seek guidance from trusted financial advisers. These people can range from a good friend who does a great job keeping their finances in check, to your parents, to your local community banker.