Budget, Before You Go Broke

By Rachel Heard, The Black Bear – The struggle is real. At school, at work, and at home; especially when it comes to finances; the art of budgeting is a

roller coaster one faces during college and often afterwards. There are two main obstacles in
developing the discipline to live within predetermined financial boundaries: differentiating wants
and needs and impulse buying. For some, there is an ability to ignore such boundaries during
college and avoid the perils and consequences. But for others, that ability is not feasible. After
college, debtors are not often gracious and forgiving. Mommy and daddy are not always
available to offer a “get out of jail free” card. It has proven beneficial to learn these things now
rather than later.

Here are a few tips and things to keep in mind when getting started:

Be realistic – Identify your spending patterns and habits and then limit them.

Set boundaries and know your limits – It is okay to say no, especially if you don’t have the
money. Don’t spend what you don’t have. There will be plenty of other times to go out with your

Be prepared – Set a limit on your account so that you won’t go below your limit; acting as a buffer
in case of an emergency.

Prioritize – Pay everything that’s required first, save some of whatever is remaining, and then
spend whatever is left.

Rule of Thumb – More of your money should always go towards your expenses than your
miscellaneous spending. Use one of the following rules, such as the 80/20, 75/25, or 60/40 (80%
for expenses and 20% for miscellaneous spending), to set parameters for monetary allocation.

Below is an example of a budget sheet college students can use to make their money stretch:

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