College Connect: Creating and Actually Sticking to a Budget

Posted By David Wilhite

By Reann Huber

For college students, financial planning and budgeting is easily one of the biggest headaches to deal with when also pursuing a degree. Nonetheless, there are easy ways to make and stick to a budget that any college student can follow.

For all of my budgeting needs, I use Mint.com after discovering it helped me take the next step in the process and made me feel like I actually had things together when it comes to my finances.

Mint made it easy to see where I was spending money on unnecessary things, and also how much money I was putting towards expenses like utility bills, gas and groceries. From there, I could really crackdown on making my budget.

Scheduled payments, like rent, internet service and other small subscriptions were easy to put into my budget because the payment amounts never change, but all my other expenses were a little trickier. As far as food and gas go, I looked within the last three months of my expenses in those categories and averaged them to figure out a good budget number to set for myself each month.

Once I had created my budget, I saw how much money I would have left over from my paychecks and I try to keep that number in mind whenever I decide to make purchases that I understand are not necessary.

Mint also allows you to create financial goals for yourself, whether it is saving up for a vacation, buying a new car or paying off loans. You can estimate how much money you need or do some research to know an exact amount, and Mint will factor that into your budget over a certain time frame to see how much you should be setting aside each month to reach that goal.

The goal feature has been very beneficial to me as I have my own financial goals I am trying to reach, but I think it will be great for any college student who has accumulated loans and wants to start setting aside money before payments begin post-graduation.

I have had a budget for awhile and mostly stay true to it, but I want to reassure people that it is OK to get have your budget thrown off a little bit. Sticking to a budget can get tricky and sometimes expenses are associated with life events that were not part of the plan. But Mint and sites like it are easily the best way to get control of the frustration that comes from budgeting your finances in college.

Reann Huber is a journalism major at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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