By Sandy Sheilds
Managing a budget is not as hard as it sounds. Making the initial commitment to live according to your budget is the hardest part. If you have done that, you are well on your way to wise spending and saving.
What is a budget?
It is simply a written plan for spending your money. You will spend your money; a budget just helps you to spend it wisely.
Managing your budget
Prepare a budget worksheet. You can make one yourself, or use a pre-made form. To make your own, just write down your income in one column and your expenses in another column, then compare the two.
If you would like to use a pre-made budget form, there are many already set up online. Here are a few links to worksheets that you can print out and use:
Budget Worksheet from Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority
College Budget Worksheet
You will learn a great deal about your financial situation by taking this first step. If you are like most people, you will find that your income is less than your expenses. You are now informed about it though, and can take the necessary action to change your situation.
Start tracking your incidental expenses. You know where the bulk of your money is going, but what about all those little extras? This is a very important step if you are serious about finding ways to stretch your money. Find a small notebook, and jot down all money spent each day on meals, snacks, gas, impulse purchases, and entertainment. After you have done this for a few days, you will start noticing how the small things really add up, and where you can start cutting back.
Learn all you can about budgeting, spending, and saving your money. The library offers many free resources to help you with this. Talk to your friends, parents, and teachers about what they have learned about budgeting and saving their money.
Take advantage of student discounts, and free offers. Here are some helpful student web sites
online to help you save:
Live a frugal lifestyle. Shop Smart and Spend Less.
Try these frugal living suggestions:
These are just a few ideas that you can use to start living a more frugal life, and to successfully manage your budget. Learning how to manage your budget in college will help you immensely. The decisions you make early on will effect you later in life. Use your time and money wisely.
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