Manage Your Finances

Create A Budget

The best way to begin your own budgeting adventure is to start with tracking where you spend your money. Once you realize where all of your money goes you will better be able to take charge of where you want to spend it. Try to track your spending for a whole week. Write down every cent you spend. Don’t forget to include the coffee you buy on the way to work or the soda you get from the vending machine at lunch time. A dollar here and a dollar there could add up over the course of a year.

Example: The coffee Angela buys on her way to work each morning costs $1.50/cup. This coffee could end up costing her $390.00 over the course of a year. ($1.50/coffee x 5 days/week x 52 weeks/year =$390.00)

Forms and Tips To Help You With Your Budget

  • Use this Spending Tracker Formto track the money you spend each week.  After you have an idea of where you spend money you can identify places to save money and start your budget.  Use the following tips to help you start the process.
    • After a week of tracking your spending is up take a look at where your money was spent. Are there any changes that you can make in your spending habits that might save you some money? Like making coffee at home and brown bagging your lunch.
    • It is important to create a budget that is custom to your lifestyle. Each person values and spends money differently. If you gave ten people fifty dollars chances are they would spend the money in ten different ways.
    • If you create a budget that doesn’t reflect your needs and goals your attempt at budgeting will not be successful.
    • There are many different budget worksheets and calculators available online. Here is an example of a basic monthly budget worksheet. Print the budget worksheet and customize it with your expenses or create your own.

Mismanaging your money is the equivalent of throwing it away. The CARE Program list the top ten financial tips for students to help them manage their money, the first of which is create a budget!

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