My Students’ Blog

Budgeting for Success

By Jared White

In adult life, you need to learn how to budget to succeed. You need this skill to maintain a healthy ledger, and it makes sure you stay in the black, or a positive balance. You also need it so you do not sabotage yourself early on in your adult life by getting buried under a lot of debt and bills that cripple many peoples’ lives. Budgeting lessens the stress you have with making your payments on time. A budget also helps you learn to save money, and, for students heading to college, makes it an easier time to get through college. The best budgets help you achieve a goal that we should all shoot for, saving money. Saving money is one of the best things you can do for yourself in adult life. It lets you worry less when you have an emergency bill or payment you need to make.

Saving money sounds easy in concept, but how do we actually do it? There are a few steps to it: attain a job, apply a proper budget, learn to save any extra money you earn, and find ways to make college more affordable for you. Following these will lessen the financial burden that will inevitably come when you pursue college.

Now on to housing and food. According to Caleb Yates, a current student at UW, if you plan on living in a dorm, you will pay a total of $12,000 a year; that includes room and board plus a meal plan. A meal plan does not cover any expenses outside of UW, so that limits you to what the college provides for you. As for ways to save money while there, you need to fight the urge to go to restaurants and places like Starbucks, since those would be out of pocket cost, and they would not be covered by your meal plan.

In conclusion, although going to college can be a difficult time on your wallet, you will be able to get through it and come out on top. After you finish college, you will have your degree and pursue a job in the field you studied. In a best case scenario, you will be making a significantly larger amount of money than you were making while attending college. Although college may seem hard, if you make sure to keep to your budget and try to keep your job, then you will have a significantly less difficult time compared to someone who is not sticking to a budget.

As a hypothetical, we will, from now on, assume whoever is reading this is a Washington resident who is or is about to graduate high school, and they plan to attend college in the fall. We will also be presuming that the reader will have little to no financial aid, and that their parents can not afford to help the student.

First and foremost, you need to get a job. Since you do not have a wealth of money behind you to begin with, you will need a way to ascertain money, and a job is the best way to do just that. The best thing to do is get a job after you graduate, so you can start building a savings account. Then transition to another job come fall if your current job’s schedule can not work with your college, or if you are travelling to another city for college. While you are at college, you need to find a job that has a schedule that can work around your school schedule. Most colleges and universities have on-campus jobs for students, so your best bet is to look there first.

Now that you have a job, how do you limit your spending? By budgeting. To budget, you create a plan of action with your money. This can be done weekly, biweekly, monthly, or however you prefer. One of the easier ways is to create a plan for your money once you get your payment, so for most jobs every two weeks or so. 

What does a good budget look like? A good budget can differ for people depending on their income, but since we are talking about college students, we can assume they are not making too much money.

Now you should try to limit your spending to only the essentials as much as possible, but that is not to say that you cannot spend money on some non-essential purchases. College students need to stimulate themselves whenever possible, so, to keep with the theme of saving money, I will suggest some things you could do to fill that craving. First off, you can go somewhere with friends: your group can go to a movie, go out to eat, or go golfing/bowling something to that effect. If you want to treat yourself, instead of going with friends, you can take yourself to a nice restaurant. It is up to you what you do. You just need to remember to be mindful of your budget and to not spend too much. Give yourself a limit before you head out.

In adult life, you need to learn how to budget to succeed. You need this skill to maintain a healthy ledger, and it makes sure you stay in the black, or a positive balance. You also need it so you do not sabotage yourself early on in your adult life by getting buried under a lot of debt and bills that cripple many peoples’ lives. Budgeting lessens the stress you have with making your payments on time. A budget also helps you learn to save money, and, for students heading to college, makes it an easier time to get through college. The best budgets help you achieve a goal that we should all shoot for, saving money. Saving money is one of the best things you can do for yourself in adult life. It lets you worry less when you have an emergency bill or payment you need to make.

Saving money sounds easy in concept, but how do we actually do it? There are a few steps to it: attain a job, apply a proper budget, learn to save any extra money you earn, and find ways to make college more affordable for you. Following these will lessen the financial burden that will inevitably come when you pursue college.

As a hypothetical, we will, from now on, assume whoever is reading this is a Washington resident who is or is about to graduate high school, and they plan to attend college in the fall. We will also be presuming that the reader will have little to no financial aid, and that their parents can not afford to help the student.

First and foremost, you need to get a job. Since you do not have a wealth of money behind you to begin with, you will need a way to ascertain money, and a job is the best way to do just that. The best thing to do is get a job after you graduate, so you can start building a savings account. Then transition to another job come fall if your current job’s schedule can not work with your college, or if you are travelling to another city for college. While you are at college, you need to find a job that has a schedule that can work around your school schedule. Most colleges and universities have on-campus jobs for students, so your best bet is to look there first.

Now that you have a job, how do you limit your spending? By budgeting. To budget, you create a plan of action with your money. This can be done weekly, biweekly, monthly, or however you prefer. One of the easier ways is to create a plan for your money once you get your payment, so for most jobs every two weeks or so. 

What does a good budget look like? A good budget can differ for people depending on their income, but since we are talking about college students, we can assume they are not making too much money.

Now you should try to limit your spending to only the essentials as much as possible, but that is not to say that you cannot spend money on some non-essential purchases. College students need to stimulate themselves whenever possible, so, to keep with the theme of saving money, I will suggest some things you could do to fill that craving. First off, you can go somewhere with friends: your group can go to a movie, go out to eat, or go golfing/bowling something to that effect. If you want to treat yourself, instead of going with friends, you can take yourself to a nice restaurant. It is up to you what you do. You just need to remember to be mindful of your budget and to not spend too much. Give yourself a limit before you head out.

What can you do to help your budget while looking for a college? Well, if you want to try to save as much money as possible, then you need to most likely stay-in state. In this case that would be Washington. The cheapest route then, would be to go to a community college of some sort, but let’s say that you have your heart set on a university to get an even better education. We will say that your university of choice is University of Washington; you will be paying in-state tuition cost which will lessen the total amount you will pay.