College is already a stressful enough time without having to sweat about every little expense. There are a few easy ways to feel more comfortable about where your budget is at.
Tip 1: Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes the hardest part about figuring out your budget is telling yourself the honest truth. Maybe you have the tendency to splurge on something that you probably shouldn’t. Calculate that in because you can tell yourself that you aren’t gonna go for it next time but you can never be certain. It’s best to just know how your budget looks with that expense. If you’re feeling really ambitious, calculate your budget both ways.
Tip 2: Round Your Income Down and Your Expenses Up
This is a really simple way to make sure you have enough money to go around. Rounding your income down gives you a little extra money for just in case that you are for sure not counting on to get you through to the next paycheck. Rounding your expenses up means that you are not only overestimating your expenditure but it also leaves room for if you spend a bit more than you planned. Also you get a little bonus pocket money for a rainy day.
Tip 3: Know the Difference Between “Needs” and “Wants”
Sometimes you have to cut back on your spending and you should make sure you’re not cutting out the wrong thing. The simplest example would be in your food expenses. Food is a need of course but eating at a restaurant or ordering in quickly racks up the expenditure. Making your own meals is dramatically cheaper than buying meals and is also a useful skill to acquire.
Tip 4: Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room
When you’re figuring out your budget, try not to cut it close. If you do end up tight at the end, that can be just as stressful or more stressful than not even knowing where your finances are at.
Tip 5: Add a “Savings” Category to Your Expenses
Setting aside funds every budget cycle sets you up with a nice emergency fund or a start to a large purchase. You don’t have to set aside a ridiculous amount of your income each time because the little amounts you do pull out build into a comfy collection.
Tip 6: Pay With Cash For the Little Things
Using cash to pay for things makes you think more about the money you are spending. When you swipe a card, magically things are payed for and you may not realize how much you are actually spending. Having the physical exchange gives you a better perspective.
Tip 7: Revisit and Review Your Budget
This is probably the most important part about making a budget. A budget needs to be kept up to date. Your situation is going to fluctuate and you’ll need to be sure your budget holds strong for the ride. That means it needs to be flexible and up to date.