By Sarah Wright
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Budgets Are Your Friend
As a student, you already have to worry about deadlines and time-management. Do you really want to add the time and effort it takes to make a monthly financial budget as well? Well, actually, it's not that difficult and time-consuming, and there are a lot of mobile and web apps that can help you keep track of your spending. It might seem pointless, since you probably don't have too complicated a financial situation, but it's actually a great idea. Here's why.
Have you ever been nervous to check your bank balance? Are you worried about whether you'll be able to afford dinner next week? Budgets are a great way to cut down on nagging thoughts like these. Organizing your spending can help you make sure you can stretch every dollar to cover everything that you need to cover.
No More Overdraft Fees
Most students have enough trouble making ends meet. It doesn't make sense to throw overdraft fees on top of that. Though banking regulations are slowly making overdraft fees a thing of the past, you still might be in danger of incurring a fee if you try to make purchases that you can't afford. Knowing how much money you have before you try to make a purchase can help you avoid such situations. Budgets are a great way to stay on top of how much money you have at a given time, which could end up saving you a bit of money.
After you graduate, you'll still have a lot of the same financial concerns. Do you have enough to cover your bases? Are you staying within your means? You'll still have these questions when you're no longer a college student. Getting in the habit of making, and sticking to, realistic budgets will make the transition from student to earning, working adult much easier.
Keep Track of Irresponsible Spending
A budget is a great way to get a handle on your monthly spending. We often start out with the best intentions, but sometimes we get a little out of hand. Analyzing the areas where you tend to overspend, and putting a cap on the amount you can spend on those areas, might help you stay in the clear. If you tend to not really care about your bank balance when you make late-night calls for pizza to be delivered to your dorm room, sticking to a cash budget for those types of things might help you stay responsible.
In addition to keeping track of irresponsible spending, keeping a budget can let you know just how much you need to cover your 'responsible' spending obligations. If you're always coming up short and don't really spend on anything but the essentials, a budget can help you figure out how much extra you need every month to be able to live comfortably. With this knowledge, you can get a job that will allow you to earn just enough to make ends meet, but not sacrifice more studying time than you need to.
Even if you stay strict with your spending, you can still have fun in college.