College can be difficult, yet a fun time of learning more about yourself, your desired career field and just life in general. Although you might have been working your way through college and paying for most of your expenses, finances change dramatically after college. Even though the word “budgeting” sounds tedious and only something parents do, developing a budget is very important when arranging your personal finances. Budgeting doesn’t have to involve a list of everything you keeping a shoe box full of receipts or keeping track of every coffee you buy. Budgeting just means being aware and mindful of your income and where and how you plan to spend that money. Once you start earning a constant salary and are responsible for all of your bills, try to lay out everything you have to pay before the end of the month so you get a visual of where your money will be heading
To start an easy budgeting routine, set aside five to ten minutes to plan out each month’s spending requirements: How much will rent be? How much is your monthly student loan bill? How much do you spend on going out with friends? How much will you spend on groceries? Cable? Netflix Transportation? Phone service? Movies? Haircuts? Car insurance? Electricity?
You get the picture. All of this adds up. After adding up all of these expenses, it’s time to compare this amount to your salary. Can you afford to have and do all of these things? Can you drink coffee at home instead of getting Starbucks every morning? Will you crumble into pieces if you can’t watch another episode of House of Cards on Netflix? After several months of keeping track of what you’re spending your hard earned cash on, you’ll start to become more aware of the difference between a need and a want and it will eventually become easier for you to monitor your spending habits.
Use this budgeting worksheet to help you budget your finances!
Also, check out our Budgeting Video Blog for advice on balancing your money after graduation.