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Importance of budgeting as a student

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Budgeting is one of those words that can make college students tune out pretty quickly.

The idea of managing money when you are already trying to manage college, work and a social life can seem like a hassle. However, just having a savings account where you deposit ten dollars a week can help you hit the ground running in your later years of life.

At the end of the day, with student loans and other expenses, you may think that you have no money to put towards a savings account. Think about this for a moment: how many times a week do you go to Starbucks and get a five-dollar coffee? Sure, the coffee is great for the half hour it lasts, but it’s hard to justify it being worth that amount.

Saving money is as easy as cutting out that coffee a couple days a week and sticking it into your savings account. Your stomach may be against the idea at the time, but your wallet will thank you later.

Say you skip that coffee twice a week and stick that ten dollars into a savings account. At the end of the year you have a grand total of $520, which may not seem like much, but imagine doing that the entire time you’re in college.

Deciding that coffee money can be better spent elsewhere is a great start to budgeting. It’s a small step towards learning the importance of watching your financial habit throughout your entire life. These few years in college may determine how your spending habits are going to be as an adult.

Though saving money is a great start to a better financial future, the most important part is learning how to spend money wisely. We live in a time where impulse buying is a fairly normal concept. However, it is crucial to realize the differences between need and wants when purchasing an item.

If the item you are buying is not vital to your survival then it can be viewed as a want. You may want to buy the latest video game, but you need to have food in the cabinets. Being able to differentiate between the two allows for you to curb that impulse buying in most cases.

That’s not to say that you should never buy another item beyond what you need. It simply means that you need to create a monthly budget, consisting of how much you make, in order to determine if you can afford the item. If you make sure to budget yourself some spending cash, you will be less likely to feel constrained during the budgeting process.

If you continue to work on your spending and budgeting habits while you’re in college, you will be a step ahead of most people when you graduate. You will have a nice chunk of cash that can go towards paying off the student loans that you might have. More importantly,  these habits will stick with you your entire life as you continue to build your wealth.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Importance of budgeting as a student