Master the art of budgeting

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When you have to pay tuition, buy books, buy groceries, buy gas, pay insurance, and spend money on who knows what else, losing money without realizing it can be easy. Living on your own in college allows much more freedom without the constant lecturing and nagging of parents about how much you are spending and you also have more freedom when deciding which purchases to make. Learning how to budget and save money is one of the most important things you can learn in college.

Create a weekly, monthly, even daily budget to help stay organized and on top of your spending. Many banks have their own phone apps to help you see how much you are spending and making. In addition to banking apps are apps that can help you create and stick to a budget such as Mint, Goodbudget, Spending Tracker and My Weekly Budget. These apps are an alternative to writing down your expenses. They provide easy, on-the-go and accessible budgeting for everyone. By budgeting carefully, you can ensure that you do not overspend. These apps also give the opportunity to see through the use of charts and graphs exactly where your money is going and exactly how to avoid ending up in the red after one night downtown.

Saving for more expensive items is better than buying them right away. Just because you see something big that you want and you have the money does not mean that you should buy it then and there. If you want to get a new laptop, television, gaming system or other big-ticket item, start to save extra money so that the sudden decrease in your bank account does not affect your savings as much.

By thinking ahead, you can avoid emptying your account or not having money for the items that you really need. If you know that you have to buy textbooks for next semester, do not go downtown and blow a bunch of money in the bars. Think about what you will need to pay for in the upcoming weeks and month.

Planning for emergencies helps make sure that you have money when you need it most. Life happens. You may need to pay for an unexpected car repair or replace a computer that breaks down. You should always have at least a small cushion saved in the case that something suddenly comes up.

Balancing your spending is just as important as saving. Spending money is inevitable, but the number one way to counter the constant deficit is to start putting money back in your account. With working comes a paycheck. A job allows you the freedom to buy groceries when you are tired of your meal plan or to buy clothes for your next Saturday’s party.

When making money, you provide yourself the opportunity to have money to save as well as having a little extra to spend on other things that you were not able to afford before.

The sooner you start saving, the better. One of the best and easiest ways to keep all of your savings together is to open a savings account that is separate from your checking account. This way, you can keep the money that you are saving and the money that you are allowing yourself to spend separate. Doing so also allows you to gain a small amount of interest. Once you have enough in your savings account, you are able to take the money and take part in higher interest and higher risk investments.

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