Apart from the long list of resolutions that the majority of us think about when we approach a new year, the challenge lies within the ability to remain consistent in changing our habits in order to attain remarkable results. Every year, budgeting is always included in my list of resolutions, but rarely do I stick to promising myself to ditch shopping and save money.
You see, new experiences take time to build and become automatic behavior. Rumor has it that it takes 21 days to form a habit, however, that is not entirely true. On average, it takes a minimum of 2 months for a behavior to become automatic, and the results vary depending on a person’s will and determination to stick to a new form of behavior.
It is not too late, though. You and I are college students and budgeting is a priority. We have 7 months left to build an additional habit by learning new budgeting tactics to save as much money as possible!
1- Use Budgeting Tools
Budgeting for college students does not have to be so tough anymore. There are student budgeting Spreadsheets available online that come in handy since they do all the calculations for you. You include your income and expenses by which it calculates whether you are living within your means month by month.
You could also track your spendings and cut back through online applications such as Mint: a personal money management application. It tracks the incoming and outgoing money and it predicts the monthly budget that you should be committing to.
2- List Your Income And Expenses
Establishing what you are entirely paying for is important, especially if your parents are completely uninvolved financially. Budgeting for college students is a colossal responsibility and requires a coherent plan. Knowing your different streams of income and expenses yourself gives you a better overview of where that extra $10-20 are disappearing every other month.
Whether your money is largely spent on books, food, transportation, monthly provincial tax, credit card balance protector, Spotify membership–they all add up scarily quickly.
3- Find A Job
Whether your parents do or don’t support you financially and you wish to live a prestigious lifestyle as a college student, having at least one source of income to balance out the outcome of the money is crucial to be able to do so.
4- Set Goals
No matter what you envision your life to look like, you have to set financial goals that can aid you throughout your budgeting experience. Setting goals with confidence allow for the cultivation of new habits and since money management is a tumultuous task for many of us, with constant efforts to plan and set long-term and short-term goals, our efforts naturally intensify which makes it a valuable and productive experience at the end of the day.
5- Prioritize Paying The Bills On Time
Once you prioritize paying your bills first and foremost, you can decide where to spend the rest of the money that you have budgeted for that month. In doing so, set reminders so it does not slip your mind, and with the amount of money you have left, you can plan to buy your groceries and have a little fun if you can. With such habits and mentality, you can improve your finances over time!
You could also “splurge” occasionally if you have enough left to stash away as a way to reward yourself. At the end of the day, budgeting for college students doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing process. A healthy mentality towards it makes it worth your while.
6- Your Future Self Will Thank You For It
Because budgeting for college students and everyone, in general, requires diligence and commitment, it is important to prohibit one bad day to break the cycle of your habits that you worked hard for. Don’t give in to your temptations and keep your goals in mind.
You could also take advantage of the automatic savings plan that banks usually provide as an option, by which a portion of your funds is always transferred to your savings immediately and keeps you from spending your money foolishly.