By Ayanna Newhouse

Most of what I’ve learned about handling my finances came from my parents. They were always very cautious about their spending and raised their three daughters to be so as well. When my sisters and I were born, they immediately opened up savings accounts for us where they would put our allowances and birthday card money and it wasn’t until a year ago when I was able to access that account.

During my freshman year, I decided that I wanted to become a resident of Missouri so that I could pay in-state tuition for my remaining years of college. I opened a second account – this time, a checking account.

I did this knowing that I’d need a checking account when I eventually got a job. Thankfully, the following summer, I got a job working in St. Louis. By having two separate accounts, I was able to keep track of the money I made, the money I spent, and the money I was saving.

I used my checking account for my everyday transactions while transferring a portion of my income into my savings account. I think that having a savings account is important because it allows you to manage the amount you want to save more easily, and it also earns interest.

My sophomore year, I moved into an apartment and started to rely on myself to provide food. In general, I do not like spending money on unnecessary products and I tend to spend the majority on food. Whenever I would go to the grocery store, I would bring a list of things I needed and, for the most part, stick to that list to prevent overspending.

My first piece of advice for people who want to manage their finances well is to open a savings account. I was lucky to have my parents open one up for me, but I think the sooner you do it the better. It provides a place for you to keep your money with easy access to it and while earning you some interest.

Next, I would suggest making a plan for yourself of how you are going to budget your money. Figure out how much you can spend while earning money and figure out how much you are going to save. Try and remind yourself of things that are needs versus wants. I think that having a spending plan is extremely helpful in knowing how much expendable money you have. Make lists of necessities and give yourself some money to spend on personal desires.

Covid-19 has decreased my spending on activities but at the same time, once school began again in August, I moved back to campus and stopped working. I am currently in search of another job because I do not like spending money when I am not making any.

This leads to my next piece of advice. Begin your job search as soon as possible. I regret not searching for jobs while I was still working over the summer because I knew that I was going to need to find something eventually. Particularly during this global pandemic, it is difficult to find suitable work.

According to The Balanced Careers, you should give yourself a lot of time when searching for jobs and know that it could take longer than expected.

A lot of what I have learned about managing my finances has been from the past couple of years. I still have a lot to learn but I think the methods I have discussed were very important to get me where I am right now.

Newhouse is a sophomore majoring in journalism at the University of Missouri.