budgeting

Written By Carly Roberts, SPT and Erika Townsend, SPT

Loan disbursements are in and it’s a great time to re-evaluate (or create) your budget. Creating a budget can help you gain control over your spending, ensuring your spending is intentional, and will help you pay off those loans after school! Things you’ll need to gather to create a budget include all income sources, such as loans, paychecks, and any other type of money coming to you. As well as ALL expenses! Not just groceries and eating out (plus tip), but also gas money, vending machine snacks, rent, bills, going to the movies or a concert, and most importantly, money going into savings. Last but not least, your budget must include a reality check, what is wanted versus needed?

Take some time to sit down, list out your income, necessary expenses, and go from there! The biggest thing to keep in mind are additional unexpected expenses. Don’t forget to allow money every month for entertainment and emergencies! If you are having trouble making your own budget, Mint.com has great resources and even a template to get you started!

A few extra tips on saving money while in school:

TEXTBOOKS TIPS

Buying textbooks? Don’t forget our own library houses many of our textbooks in an e-book format online for FREE. Use the resources the school provides! But if you prefer having the book in your hands, purchase or rent used books through Amazon or Chegg for a huge discount off the new book price.

EAT OUT TIPS

With some great restaurants within a short drive or so many drive through options, it is easy to want to go out for meals. But, buying one meal out could be the equivalent to a few meals at home, not to mention, home cooked meals tend to be healthier than going out. Save going out to eat for special occasions. When you do eat out stick to your budget. Many restaurants offer loyalty rewards or email clubs that give you coupons, use them to your advantage.

GROCERY TIPS

Choose where and how you grocery shop wisely. Create a list and stick to it, and even buying in bulk can save you money in the long run. Things like toilet paper, toothpaste, and granola bars can be bought in bulk for cheaper than buying it in small quantities. Keep in mind, every grocery store prices the same item differently, driving the few minutes extra to a different store can save you lots! Phone apps like flipp can help you find the best price for you grocery items. If you have a hard time sticking to your grocery list, another option is using the Walmart grocery app, then you don’t have to go into the store. You select your pick up time window and can pick up your grocery curbside on your way home from class.

BILL PAYMENT TIPS

We live in a world of technology, use it to your advantage! Create a reminder on your phone to notify you on payment due dates such as rent, utilities, insurance, and credit card bills. Missing a bill payment can be expensive, from late charges to a kick to the credit score, stay on top of your payment due dates! Some banks will even allow you to set up autopay on your bills. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Another great resource is our Enrollment Services office. If you have questions about the budget the school has set for your program or need to increase your loans or do a short term advance, contact Enrollment Services at [email protected] from your student email address for the quickest reply.