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A friend sent me a message asking if I can post her article here, and I said yes because I do not have anything to post today. I always told her to just make her own na lang, but I don't know what's on her mind. Anyway, it is about budgeting. She is renting in a dormitory because her hometown is somewhat far from the university we are studying at.
I remember how excited I was to enter college. A new life, a new beginning, and a new environment – everything was so exciting. It felt thrilling to be able to live away from where you used to live. You won’t have your parents nag and restrict you from going out and you do not need to feel conscious of the people that know you in your town. Everything is new and it feels like the start of a new life
But, the excitement does not last forever.
Living away from parents in a dormitory while having to worry about your studies and finances was not the new life you have imagined. It was stressful and scary. You cannot rely on anyone but yourself and you have to make meet ends. Yet, I tried my best to manage.
Living alone does not mean you can just do everything you want. You need the discipline to spend the limited resources you have properly.
What helped me get through college and its deadly finances was budgeting.
Yes, budgeting, and adulting thing. Like a college dorm girl, I have to budget to survive. How did I do that?
Create a budget plan. Hassle, it may be. But, a plan will help you sort out some future obstacles early on. A budget plan is simple. You just have to list all your expenses within a time period, maybe for a week of for a month and list your total funds or money. These expenses should be kept within the funds you have and there you have it, a budget.
You can list categories like food, fares, school supplies, and other expenses you might incur. Be careful not to be too specific with details like identifying food items like bread with their prices. You might allocate a specific fund for the food category which leaves no contingency. Remember you need to allocate extra money on some categories in case of unexpected expenses. Allocating exactly as you think you need can be dangerous.
List only the expenses for what you really need. Your funds are limited. Especially when you’re in college, you might be only relying on your parents. I was not from a rich family and I have to make sure that my expenses would not exceed my allowance. We should not always give in to our wants but focus on our priorities.
In case when your listed expenses are too much for your funds, you can adjust some things during your budget plan. You can adjust some things if possible like these following:
Cut down a little on your recreation and entertainment activities that may cost you too much. Since college is such a busy life, it would not only save you money but time also
Avoid expensive bad habits or vices like cigars and alcohol.
Make sure to choose food and beverages that do not cost you so much. Drinking water rather than buying expensive drinks can help. I always bring with me a jug of water when going somewhere. It is also helpful when you cook your own meals if you have time. Buying outside costs more than you think.
Follow your budget plan. A budget is nothing if you have no discipline to execute it. Remember your priorities. I have experienced having shortages because I was not being careful. These things listed below helped me to become better at managing my finances.
Always monitor your expenses. Record them and check your funds regularly. Keep yourself in check.
You do not always need to go when your friends invite you out. Decline politely and say you have something to do. Eating out is expensive and can destroy your plan. You can go as long as you have budgeted an amount for it. But going again when it is against your budget is a no-go.
Save a little from your allowance. As much as possible, set aside even a small amount for your savings. It will help you during emergencies. It may also be a way for you to earn for your wants.
College is not easy. But it is a preparation for the time you will be really alone. It is training you to become independent. Let’s do our best to learn about life during our college years but also take time to enjoy.