How to Stay Strong and Budget during College
By JW Rayhons & Victor Giordano
College is a challenging time in the life of students, and balancing school, health, work and your money can be one of the toughest parts of it. So, how can you struggle for 4 years of your life and still come out on top of it? What is the best way to make decisions on how to spend your time and money? There certainly are techniques for both, and the best part is that they are simple and easy to follow. While in school we often ask ourselves some of these questions, if not consciously, unconsciously. Should I buy a coffee, so I don’t fall asleep in this next lecture? Should I stock up on ramen noodles? Should I go out to eat… for the fourth time this week? Some of these questions can be easily answered with some time dedicated to plan and think, which will save you a lot in the future.
Change how you perceive things
When thinking about buying something, don’t think about the short-term effects of it. Instead think about long-term and how you can get the same short-term rewards in a more efficient way. In other words, sometimes we don’t think much about the everyday coffee we drink before class. But those $6 every school day can sum up to be $120 a month and $1440 a year, just on coffee. Not counting snacks and lunch/dinner at fast-food and restaurants. Those small transactions from $5 to $10 do not weigh in our short-term thinking but they accumulate on the long-term. A good alternative is making coffee and cooking at your residence. You can spend a lot less and enjoy it more.
Building your budget
This is a very important tool to be on top of your college life. However, most people do not take their time to do it. There are free templates on Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets to assist you on building your budget. From simple design to advanced and complicated budgets, and the best part they are free. Usually, it can take you an hour to a couple of hours to get a detailed budget done. Doing so will help you understand where your money is going and enable you to direct it to the where you want it to go.
The first step is to understand your actual NEEDS. All expenses you cannot live without, such as, groceries, gas, insurance, personal hygiene items, internet/phone bill and others. Exclude all the things you can live without. Some of them will fit your WANTS, this category will show all the things you would want to have, such as your Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and/or video game subscription and other services and products.
Then, finally understand your DESIRES. In this category, you will want to focus on big desires you have and things you will need to plan for, such as a new car, new phone and/or a vacation. Doing this will allow you to UNDERSTAND how your money should be spent. The next step is deciding what amount you can SAVE or INVEST to help you progress towards your life goals.
Some of the great tools to manage your time can go from a simple pen and paper to cell phone and computer apps. SCHEDULING is the best way to manage your time, but don’t make your schedule tough to follow. When building your schedule make it the BEST day you WANT to have. Having a planner is always helpful to establish a schedule and those can cost you around 10 dollars, or you can even print one out of the internet. Another good tool is Google, Apple or Microsoft calendar apps, those are free options that help you organize your schedule according to the day you want to have. Setting these apps up even allows you to receive reminders, so you are notified when certain tasks need to be done.
In order to better analyze and help individuals, Rayhons Financial Solutions counts on a great team of knowledgeable and experienced professionals with strengths in different areas. This allows us to create great ideas and alternatives to meet the best interest of the individual. Call us at (480) 507-2425 or contact us online. We’d love to meet you.
Victor Giordano is a GCU Intern with Rayhons Financial Solutions. Victor cannot offer securities or advisory services.
The content in this article was prepared by the article’s author. Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. does not endorse its content, and the views expressed may not necessarily reflect those held by Voya Financial Advisors, Inc.