When students go off to college they have little to no experience managing their money. College is full of financial obligations and opportunities that require money. Spending money wisely is a necessity and essential to sustaining your best college career possible.

Forecasting and supervising your budget allows for students to pinpoint wasteful expenses and best allocate their limited funds or income. Budgeting also allows for students to achieve their financial goals such as saving for a new laptop or for a study abroad trip that may seem unattainable.

I had exposure to budgeting early on, in high school, but in college I was able to see how I could maximize a small portion of money. I saw that I wasted most money on fast food. The $50 I spent on fast food could be better used to save for my spring break trip or attending a concert with friends. Luckily, I discovered the power and value of budgeting early in college. In retrospect, I do not feel that my finances have limited me socially. The key is planning ahead and sticking to a specific and measureable budget.

Creating a budget is a great way to decrease and manage stress levels about finances because budgets provide financial clarity. Budgeting is important not only in college but throughout life in order to be finically responsible.

When starting a budget, it is important to know your habits and obligations. Keep track of all your expenses for the first month to analyze your habits. Identify monthly bills and payments and account for all.  I keep track of my finances on an Excel document to keep everything organized.

Listing all expenses will allow you to separate wants from needs, enabling you to cutback. If your expenses exceed your income that is a red flag that you are living outside of your means. Make the necessary adjustments. It is important to save for unexpected expenses and for rewarding yourself down the line. Don’t give up, budgets are not always easy but they are always a wise tool and imperative life skill.