College Connect: Managing Your Money Doesn’t Have to Be So Stressful

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Covey Eonyak Son

You probably grew up getting allowances from your parents. Your parents probably got you a piggybank one day, and told you to not to break it open until you’ve saved enough money. And they almost definitely at some point told you to put something back at the store because you don’t really need it.

This is how a lot of parents try to teach their children about financial responsibility. Their hope is that someday, their children will go out into the real world, earn a decent living, watch their spending and hopefully start saving for retirement.

Let’s face it: Managing your money isn’t easy as easy as they say. It’s tedious no amount of lectures ever made it any better. It takes a lot of time and diligence. It can be overwhelming at times to try and keep track of what goes where. Seriously, when’s the last time you whipped out a spreadsheet or journal to record how much you spent on a cup of coffee? Have you ever wrote down how much you spend on coffee each week? Each month? Each year?

There’s no way to make it fun. But there are ways to make it easier than manually logging your purchases in an Excel file or notebook.

It’s as easy as having app do those chores for you. Personal finance apps have become very prolific on iPhone and Android, and most of them are free. Apps like Intuit’s Mint are linked to you bank account and credit card(s), and they automatically log everything you spend and earn.

Mint, in particular, allow you to set monthly budgets for spending categories like “Entertainment” and “Coffee Shops.” You can also set push notifications for upcoming bill payments and when you’re approaching a budget limit for the month.

Then there are apps like Acorn, that aim to make even investing easy and carefree. Acorn connects to your checking account and credit cards, rounds up every purchase to the next dollar and automatically invests the difference in a portfolio of your choosing. You could literally go out and spend $3.49 on a cheeseburger, and you will have invested $0.51 without lifting a finger.

This post would only drag on and on if I were to list every single finance app available. The point is to encourage you to change how you think of money management. Saving and investing for the future shouldn’t have to be seen as something laborious when it doesn’t have to be.

Son is a political science major at the University of Missouri.

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