Ballin’ on a budget: How to successfully build a budget

Gabrielle Tazewell |Staff Writer

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Flickr user Tracy O

Prioritizing spending habits is something that most college students have trouble with. We have problems distinguishing the needs versus the wants, the must-haves versus the don’t needs, and the essentials versus the nonessentials. However, it isn’t too late to change. It’s time to throw away the stereotype that all college students are “broke.”

Budgeting your money doesn’t mean not touching your wallet–although that might help. Instead, it means limiting your spending to where it’s needed. This includes everything from grocery shopping to buying textbooks.

“You can go from being in a great financial standing one day to being broke the next. Anything can happen any day to cause you to need money,” sophomore biology pre-med major Diana Randleman said. “If you budget, and put money aside, it’s easier to handle emergencies and set you up for less setbacks.”

Budgeting starts with setting realistic goals. Tevin Reid, a junior aviation management major from Norfolk, said that creating a list helps him budget. “I like to list my necessities and priorities, from greatest to least.” he said. “Whenever I get paid, I set aside 80 percent of my money towards savings and usual priorities, and then whatever spending money I have to freelance with, I will.”

When it comes to making smart financial decisions, try to prioritize your needs before your wants. “Realizing that some of your money shouldn’t be touched shows a sense of discipline. Being able to spend money wisely and still have some for when emergencies come is smart and great when it comes to healthy living,” Reid said.

Creating healthy spending habits is another essential element to budgeting. “When you shop a lot, you tend to buy stuff that isn’t worth it,” Randleman said. The best way to combat excessive buying is understanding that shopping trips are a luxury and not a necessity.

“If I’m not 100 percent sure of something is worth the price, I’ll leave it in the store. If I’m still thinking about that item 24 hours after I leave it at the store, I’ll go back and buy it,” Randleman said. “This seems simple, but it’s actually a great spending technique.”

College is a time of many influences, one being spending money on relevant and non-essential items. Once you get the hang of good spending habits, saving money won’t be out of the question.

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