Budgeting is often a major concern for college students. According to Student Finance Domain, a money management website, “Creating a student budget plan is an important step every student can take to assess his or her financial wellness.”

Assessing your finances, setting financial goals and prioritizing your expenditures are fundamental steps that will help college students take control of personal finances. 

Students question the idea of budgeting, but what do they really know about it? According to American Financial Solutions, a debt counseling agency, budgeting allows a person to take control of their money instead of the money controlling them.

According to Student Finance Domain constructing a budget “will tell you if you’re living within your means. Many people don’t realize they’re living far beyond their means until they’re knee deep in debt.”

Professors in UTSA’s finance department provide their advice.

“You always want to keep track of what you’re doing, keep track of your money, and you want a better idea of how you spend your money,” Professor Donald Lien, said. “Small expenditures here and another small one there [can] become a big number.”

He suggests students should monitor their accounts and [bank statements] carefully.

College students who say they are “broke” may have legitimate reasons.

“The majority of my funds go to gas, food and clothes,” senior political science major Deneva McCullough said. “I don’t have a budget, but I spend my money on what’s necessary for the most part. I do like to buy clothes occasionally.”

Some students, however, do budget.

“I usually budget my spending every week, ranging from lunch on campus to other activities outside of school with friends,” junior accounting major Jacory Brasfield said. “I found in doing so, I’m more efficient with my funds.”

Junior communication major Karla Campos takes a different approach to budgeting. She budgets by “picking the biggest payments. The mortgage, car payment and utilities. And total it up and divide it by how many weeks are in a month and put that away until it is due.”

Other ways that Campos mentioned are “to cook more at home than [to] go out” and she sets money in a separate account that she saves.

“A budget can help you meet your savings goal,” according to American Financial Solutions. “Following a realistic budget frees up spare cash so you can use your money on the things that really matter to you instead of frittering it away on things you don’t even remember buying.”

The Student Finance Domain provides additional advice. “After going through the process of creating a student budget plan or personal budget plan, many people realize that they actually don’t have enough money to pay for all their expenditures. [But] with planning, you can have what you need and save to meet your goals.”

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