Another common New Year's Resolution is creating a budget and sticking to it so you can take better care of your finances. As college students in this day and age, we are more aware of financial difficulties than most prior to us. With tons of loans in our names and working three jobs just to make ends meet, budgeting can be an extremely valuable tool for everyone.
Have a specific goal in mind
If you are just saving money or budgeting because you think it's what you are supposed to do, you are already setting yourself up for failure. Having a long-term goal in mind helps you to see why you are scrimping and that makes skipping those nights out a whole lot easier. Whether it's a new car, a trip to a foreign country, or just being able to make a bigger payment on your loans, have a goal.
Know your income
It's completely unrealistic to think that you are going to be able to save every cent you make every paycheck. So make sure you know your real take-home income (that means, after taxes).
Know what you have to spend
Look at what your bills cost you every month and have a specific idea of what is going to be subtracted every month. Don't forget to account for irregular expenses like car registration, property taxes, etc.
Make small changes
Are you a big Starbucks drinker? Cut yourself back to one drink a week and you won't believe the money you'll save just by that small change. Start using cash instead of your debit card, it's a lot harder to hand over cold hard cash than a plastic card so it will force you to think about how much you are spending. I personally save every five dollar bill I get, it's a small change that saves me a lot of money in the long run.
Reward yourself a little
If you go around your life refusing to let yourself buy anything there will be a point where you lose control and spend a lot more money than you want to. So allow yourself a little reward every now and then to help make all of the money saving easier.
Do you stick to a budget? Have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!