By Kalle Benallie

My relationship with money is based on my mother’s relationship with money.

My mother has always been frugal with her money. She’s been working since she was a child, so she’s been handling her money for a while. She constantly saves and has never had a real financial crisis. I don’t feel worried if she has enough or if she could afford something because she always assures me, she does. She is my role model in how to handle money, which I carried over when I started working and receiving funds from my scholarships.

When I started having my own money, I wanted to buy certain things, and some of those included trips. However, I was aware how easily I could spend all of it without thinking about how it all stacked up in the end.

I knew that any future plans, such as travel, needed to be allocated carefully.

As soon as I would receive a paycheck or scholarship funds, I would stow it away in my savings account, not allowing myself to touch it.

I’m a list maker and like organizing outlines for myself. Especially, I would make lists detailing the big purchases I wanted to make, along with the cost. I would include a list of places to travel and the cost for food, gas, and other expenses. It helps me understand the anticipated expenses I would be making.

I try to foresee the future so I can begin saving as soon as possible.

Recently, I counted all my receipts to see where I was spending and how much. Unsurprisingly, I spend most of my money on food and other miscellaneous purchases. But writing down my history of purchases helps me understand the scope of where my money goes. It reaffirms to me not to eat out as much and control my spending habits.

Additionally, seeing how other people spend their money helps my relationship with my money.

There have been many times when I see a person spending more than they should have and not planning carefully. Their nonchalant attitude about their money would give me anxiety and convince me to be cautious. It’s helpful to apply certain situations to myself and use that information to be smart with my money.

That mindset is how I approach money. I know if I want to keep it and have the things I want, I need to be smart.

I must be aware that I don’t have an endless amount and that a budget is the best option on maintaining a steady balance in my bank account.

As I learned watching my mother, saving is crucial. Don’t spend your entire paycheck as soon as you receive it. At least take a little bit of it and put it away.

I feel a lot more accomplished when I spend the money I saved because I worked for it in some way. I feel proud that I was able to responsibly obtain a purchase that I saved months for.

Kalle Benallie is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.