Scrabble tiles spell the word money

We all need money but there are things you can do take better care of yours.

We are all starting school and trying to figure out balance in our lives, stressing about school, social life and jobs as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one thing you didn’t need to worry about? The one thing I am choosing not to worry about would be money and my finances. And I’ll let you in on my strategy for financial zen (hint: it doesn’t include winning the lottery).

College students almost always struggle with money because we have to pay a lot for our tuition and textbooks and housing and groceries.. you get the idea. The bottom line is we usually don’t have much money. One thing college students don’t often realize, however, is that we need to manage our money a lot better than we do.

I personally live paycheck to paycheck and, honestly, that’s just not cutting it anymore. So I decided to take a personal finance class and it is helping me figure out how to stress less about money. I have learned that the key is to manage your spending and to save your money.  It is easy enough to manage your money by creating a budget. All you have to do is to record all of your spending for one month and then cut out the expenditures that aren’t strictly necessary. For instance, if you are eating out several nights a week but didn’t realize it was that often, you can decide to cook more often at home which will usually cost less than a meal at a restaurant.

The other part of the money management equation is saving. It is very, very important to save money. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t have a savings account then you don’t have emergency money for unexpected costs such as car repairs, heath care or even losing your job. This could cause a lot of trouble because if you don’t have any money set aside you’ll likely turn to credit cards which can be a dangerous road to start traveling.

An easy way to start saving is to take a portion of each paycheck you earn and put it into a savings account. Some workplaces will let you set up a direct deposit right to your savings account. The amount you decide to save every two weeks doesn’t have to be much. If you save just $10 a month, over 12 months you will have $120. That’s enough to buy a few textbooks or even a month’s worth of groceries. Now imagine what saving $20 or $30 will give you!

I’ve only been in my personal finance class for a few weeks, but I’ve already gotten a much better handle on my money. These simple tips on managing your money, creating a budget and saving money will help you immensely too. But I am not quite done imparting financial wisdom. Next week, I will share some specific ways you can save money and help to accomplish your financial goals.

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Elizabeth Peterson

Liz graduated in 2016 with a BS in Nursing. She is from Atkinson, IL and her hobbies including reading and watching movies as well as anything outdoors.

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