Budgeting and Saving for the Summer
Maybe it’s just because I am a college student, but I always find myself struggling to save up money. I’m already busy paying for school necessities and filling my days with exams, so how could I possibly have time to focus on budgeting? I used to feel that way until I realized that budgeting doesn’t have to be the tedious task that people make it out to be. Have some fun with it! Learning to budget in a fun and easy way has helped me save up for exciting trips to get away from all of my workload.
Spice it up!
People usually see budgeting as a boring task because it often involves the use of plain excel spreadsheets (gross!). Spice it up by buying a budgeting planner that you can decorate and customize to your own liking. There are plenty of premade budgeting planners on the market to choose from or, if you’re like me, you can get a plain journal or notebook and decorate it with your own style.
If pen and paper isn’t your cup of tea, there are countless budgeting apps that work just as well, and maybe even better! Mint is a great option that lets users simply connect their bank account to the app and it automatically tracks your transactions to keep track of where your money is going. Not to sound lazy, but budgeting is way easier when you have an app that does it all for you.
Trying to aimlessly save money can be harder than having a realistic goal set to work towards. Start small with goals like saving $100 every month. Once you get comfortable with the small goals, you’ll be able to see what larger goals you can strive for. Last year, I started the first few months with the goal of trying to save $100 a month. I slowly realized it was easier than I expected and moved my savings goal up every month. By July, I had saved up $2,000! With that money, I was able to have a relaxing vacation without having to worry about not having enough money for school when I came back.
Fix your bad habits — like going out to eat!
Going out to eat is something that I always find myself splurging on. I’m not sure if it’s because I truly enjoy the food or because I am too lazy to cook after school and work. Either way, I always find that I am losing HUNDREDS of dollars every month for this “treat” that I keep convincing myself is worth it. Before summertime comes around, try your best to avoid going out to eat. The costs can add up quickly and you’ll end up being left with no money to spend on exciting restaurants during your summer trips. It’s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of looking up low-cost recipes and cooking them to your liking, you’ll realize the greatness of having a homecooked meal. There’s no going wrong with eating delicious food while saving money.
Don't put away budgeting just because you have an idea that it is a boring task. Coming from a college student that gets bored and annoyed with everything, budgeting can be fun if you spice it up in your own way. Try and use these tips to save up for your next summer vacation!
Lisa is currently a student at the University of West Florida and is a marketing intern with Gulf Winds Credit Union. She spends her time writing and updating financial blogs that tend to focus on the younger generation and those that attend college.