By Dax Vogler 

When I got accepted into the University of Missouri, I promised myself that I would be cautious with how I spent my money.

I did not want to spend all of the money I had in my savings account the first week, just to buy things that I could not before. According to College Data, you need to create a realistic budget before going to college. This includes budgeting for random expenses to things that you actually need.

Unfortunately, I never took this step in the decision making process to go to college. The first week I got to school I spent over $200 on food, because I did not want to eat at the dining halls. Do not do this.

Spending money on food that was not even good, and it affected my financial situation terribly. I wish I would have saved up my money, because I did not have a job to fund my spending habits. Later on in my Freshman year, I decided that in order for my room to be aesthetically pleasing I needed some pet fish and plants. Again, this should have been something I budgeted for before I came to Columbia. Having a shopping problem did not help this situation because I ended up with 5 pet fish, and 12 plants. The overall cost of everything I spent that day was around 100 dollars. I was spending money that I did not have.

With all of my friends from high school going to different Universities around the state of Missouri, I wanted to go visit them too. This put a big hole in my pocket. I traveled to the University of Southern Missouri in Joplin, University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, and Washington University in St. Louis. In reality, I did not think about everyone coming back during holiday breaks. Also, keep in mind travel expenses in your college budget!

In fact, make sure to budget for spring break, as the average cost for students is about $600, according to StudentLoanHero.com.

As the winter months sprung upon me, I told myself to be careful with how I spend money because during the winter I usually shop a ton. I failed once again. I bought two expensive coats because I thought the weather was going to be bad, and it never was. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought at $50 blanket because I wanted to be cozy in my dorm room. Do not do this. I spent over $1,000 dollars my freshman year at the University of Missouri. That is not a good amount to spend, especially when you are in college.

Make sure to save some money, because there are still three years left of school.

I can tell you now as a senior, I have been more active with saving the money that I have. I do not spend it on things that I do not need, only on the necessities. With this outlook, I am hoping to continue saving money for my adult life after undergrad, which is something we all need to do for our futures.

Vogler is a senior at the University of Missouri.