How to Balance Funds and Fun at College

It’s all fun and games until you’re broke.

You’ve worked your tail off all summer long and it’s finally time to move back to campus for another year of learning. Starting the semester with a full checking account tends to lead to irresponsible spending – eating out, ordering in, and shopping sprees. Before you blow all of your money, here are some ways you can balance BOTH fun and funds.

Know the Difference Between Needs and Wants
A need: require (something) because it is essential or very important.

A want: have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.

Needs are staples like housing, food, clothing, books for your classes, and gas/transportation. Wants are everything else – that cute going-out top you *must-have,* concert tickets, your second nitro cold brew of the day, sneakers, or a plane ticket to a spring break getaway. Splurging once in a while isn’t a bad thing, but make sure it doesn’t turn into a habit.

Identify Your Cash Flow
Are you working on-campus or getting a part-time job off-campus? It might benefit you to create a spending plan or a budget. Budgets aren’t meant to stop you from spending on things you want, rather it will make sure your needs are covered and how much is left over for the fun stuff.

Use the 72-Hour Rule
A good rule of thumb is to use the 72-hour rule. If you see something you MUST have, don’t buy it just yet. Wait 72 hours and think about making the purchase. If your mind hasn’t changed, then you can go about purchasing the item. But, consider your purchases carefully!

Look Out for Subscriptions
More likely than not, you’re signed up for at least one subscription service - music or movie streaming, beauty box, grooming kit, etc. These services can add up quickly. Instead, allocate that money towards your necessities budget, or your fun fund.

Although you might miss your monthly samples, the money in your bank account will look nicer.

Aggregate your Finances
Once you prioritize your spending, using Personal Finance can make budgeting simple. You can link any bank account, investment, credit card, loans or other debt, into one platform. With all of your accounts in one place, you can monitor transactions every time you log in or set up alerts to notify you of low balances or upcoming payments.

Your transactions are automatically divided into budget categories. Detailed, yet easy to understand graphs and tables track your income and spending so achieving your financial goals is easier than ever. Prioritize your debts to pay some off faster than others. You’ll even be able to see how quickly that debt goes away with extra payments each month.
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