Save the Bank, Don’t Break the Bank


Gracie Burgess, Staff Writer

For many students, budgeting is one of the hardest tasks to learn when entering college. Some students have some background in budgeting, but since many schools don’t teach budgeting skills in high school, college students feel intimidated and do not know where to start. Here are five tips and tricks to help you succeed as a college student when it comes to budgeting.

1. Track your spending
Tracking your spending can be one of the most challenging steps when it comes to budgeting, but often it should be the first step. At the end of the week, it is a good idea to take a look at how much you have spent, and what it was on. How much did you spend on groceries, eating out, clothes shopping, recreation, gas, etc.? By seeing it all in a list, you can see where you may be able to cut back on spending a bit. Do this for a month and then decide where you can implement some changes in your spending. Determine what purchases are necessary and which ones are unnecessary. After three to four months of this, you will begin to notice that you are saving money in areas that you were not saving in before.

2. Create an emergency fund
You never know when something important will come up. I am not talking about a concert or sporting event, but a real emergency such as a car accident or a trip to the hospital. This is why it is important to create and have for the future. You never know when an emergency will come up so by having money already set aside for it, you are always going to be prepared. It may take some time to build up the account, but strive to have enough money to where you feel comfortable. Many experts say you should always have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in the account.

3. Set aside funds for fun
College is all about making the most of your time! It is important to set aside money every month to have some fun too. You are only in college for so long and before you know it, it is going to be over. Remember to go out with your friends, go out to eat, go to the movies or do whatever you like to do. But, there are also less costly ways to have fun too. FGCU organizations put on tons of events that are fully free to college students. By attending some of these events, you can still get the most out of your college experience but also save money along the way.

4. Save
Once college is over, it is full-on into the adult world from there. The period right outside of college is a struggle for many college students to find their footing and gain a steady income. So in that case, and all other cases, it is important to save while you can. If you have a little extra at the end of the week or month, do not go and find a way to spend it. Instead, put it in a savings account where you still have access to the money if you do end up needing it, but you are also able to gain interest on the money you have in the account.

5. Make goals for yourself
If you are doing it just to do it, budgeting is most likely to fail. While it can be a struggle sometimes to budget and it is hard to find the dedication to budget, it is important to do so. By creating a successful budget, you are going to be more successful in your financial journey. Remember that it is going to be hard, but anything good and worth it is challenging. Set reasonable goals for yourself that you can stick to, but that also push you.