When you live in a community primarily populated by students, it’s easy for your monetary priorities to get out of whack. Why would we think about saving for our future when Chipotle consistently calls our name? Suddenly that $9 burrito bowl becomes much more important than saving for student loans.
Although it may not be the first things on our minds, learning to limit our spending is important. In May, CNN reported that 2013 grads averaged about $35,200 in debt after graduation.
This is no news to us. Parents and professors constantly remind of today’s struggling economy. And while we can do nothing to fix it, we can take small steps to prevent a personal financial crisis when we graduate by learning to manage our money.
Guac lovers, fear not. There’s room for Chipotle in the budget.
Create a Weekly Budget
Each week, set aside a specific amount of money for your necessities. Choose an amount per week that you are willing to spend, whether it is $50, $80 or $100. Then, divide the total amount into different categories: $20 for eating out, $20 for groceries, etc. Then, put the leftover money in your savings. Stick to your guns – the less you spend the more you save.
Control Online Shopping
Online shopping is addicting, and we can all testify. Sites like Tobi and ModCloth will drain your virtual wallet. When we shop online, it’s impersonal. Not once do you draw a card or hand over cash. A simple click, and presto – it’s ours. Instead of buying right away, browse and add items to your wish list, a feature available on most websites. When you save enough money, treat yourself to the items you have bookmarked. Let online shopping be a reward for your savings.
When you use cash, it’s easy to keep track of how much you’re spending. This can be especially helpful when budgeting. Withdraw a specific amount each week and pay attention to where your money is going. When you notice your wallet shrinking, it may be time to reassess your spending. Meanwhile, your bank account won’t be suffering.
Photo by Alex O’Brien