Posted in Finance and Budgeting

How to Make a Budget

College changes the way we live. You’re completely responsible for yourself, and even if you’re used to doing things on your own, not having help as an option is completely different. Every family situation is different. Every individual has different needs. So whether you’re paying for your own college, having your parents pay, or going on a scholarship, you’ll need to learn how to manage your finances. This is where budgeting comes in.

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For the sake of this post, I’m going to do a monthly budget. You can alter the time period to weekly, bi-weekly, even yearly. To get started, think about what your monthly income is. Pick a number you know you will always make, to avoid falling behind financially. For instance, if you’re a waitress who gets paid hourly as well as tips, assume you have a bad month and don’t make a ton. Use that “bad” number as your budget. Let’s just use $200 as an example.

Example:

You make $200 on a bad month, so your monthly budget is $200.

Secondly, make a list of everything you’ll need to pay for every month. This could be a rather long list, so try to keep it vague. Getting too specific will just stretch you and your money.

DoDon’t
GroceriesMilk
ToiletriesSoap

Overall, there’s 5 things that should always be on your list.

  1. Food/groceries
  2. Toiletries
  3. Medical needs
  4. Transportation/gas
  5. Spending/miscellaneous

Make sure you include insurance (medical, vehicle, etc). Some additional costs might include:

  1. Rent
  2. Utilities
  3. Pets
  4. Tithe
  5. Monthly subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, etc)
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Next, subtract set monthly expenses- things that you will always need to pay for that will always be the same price (rent, insurance, subscriptions, etc.). It’s good to get this out of the way first, since you can’t cut back here. What you’re left with is your actual budget.

Example:

You have a $200 monthly budget. You pay $10 in subscriptions each month. So you really have $190 to budget.

After you’ve subtracted your fixed payments, order your remaining items by importance (most to least).

Example:

  1. Medication
  2. Groceries
  3. Toiletries
  4. Transportation
  5. Spending

If you have prescription medication, this is obviously the most important item on your list. Groceries are also important- humans need to eat. No, you’re not an alien. Next, we have toiletries. Although you CAN live without deodorant, I prefer you use it. So does your neighbor. I checked. Fourth on the list is transportation. This is easier to work around sometimes. Walking or biking are great alternatives to save money. If you go to school or work too far away, carpooling is another great way to keep your bank account positive. Plus, you can use the HOV lane and it’s good for the environment. win-win. Lastly, we have spending money. This is for clothes, haircuts, make-up, etc.

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We’re almost done, I promise. After you have your list, assign the amount you’d like to spend each month to each item on the list. As much as you’d like to spend $500 on marvel movies and t-shirts, try to keep your budget in mind. You don’t have to stick to the exact number.

Example:

  1. Medication- $20
  2. Groceries- $100
  3. Toiletries- $20
  4. Transportation- $50
  5. Spending- $20

Now remember, you only actually have $190 to budget. Add up your costs and see what you get.

Example:

$20+$20+$20+$50+$100 = $210

Don’t worry that it’s over your budget (not yet anyways). This is why we ordered them by importance. So, to get to $190, we have to subtract $20 from the lowest items on the list. There are two obvious options here:

  1. Subtract all of your spending money. It’s not a necessity, so it goes.
  2. Subtract $10 from your spending money, and $10 from your transportation money. You can make this up by walking, biking, carpooling, or even working from home.

Personally, I think that it’s important to be able to spoil yourself. Even if it’s only with $10. How many chocolate bars can you buy with that? Or you could rent a movie. Get yourself a coffee. $10 can be a lot.

Example:

  1. Medication- $20
  2. Groceries- $100
  3. Toiletries- $20
  4. Transportation- $40 ($50-$10)
  5. Spending- $10 ($20-$10)

Don’t worry, I did the math for you.

$10+$20+$20+$40+$100 = $190

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Well, there you go! Making a budget is easy- sticking to it is hard. Here are some tips to help you save money.

  1. Pay with cash. You know exactly how much you can spend and are a lot less likely to go over.
  2. Factor in tax. Whip out your phone and calculate your total before you check out.
  3. Pay with exact change. If your total is $1.08, and you pay with two $1 bills, you’ll get 92 cents back. That’s almost a dollar. Soon enough, you’ll have $7 in change that you’ll never use.
  4. Make a list of what you need. This will help you from throwing things you don’t need in the basket.
  5. Cut back wherever you can. This is an easy way to save money. Bike or carpool instead of paying for gas. Rent a movie instead of going to see one. Eat in or use your meal plan if you have one instead of eating out. If you do go out, get one meal and water. Don’t splurge on appetizers and deserts, you’re poor.

Tip: Use a monthly budget planner, like the one here, to help you keep tabs on your spending.

I hope this helped you get started on saving money. Living on what you make in college is hard, but it is doable. If you have any more money-saving ideas, leave it in the comments! Please like, and subscribe for more content!

Posted in Finance and Budgeting, Relationships and Dating

10 FREE Date Ideas for College Couples During Covid-19

Covid-19 has changed our world. Businesses, health, and relationships have suffered. Romantic relationships can be hard and become boring due to the lack of available activities. Especially if you’re low on cash, like most college students. So, here’s 10 FREE things you can do as a college couple during COVID-19 to keep romance alive!

1. Have a Game or Puzzle Night

But for real. Play checkers, chess, connect-4, card games, do a puzzle, play video games, even build with lego’s!

2. Go Geocaching

Get in the car and go! This scavenger hunt style adventure is sure to beat Netflix on the couch.

3. Have a Spa Night

Put on some music, turn down the lights, everyone loves a good spa night (males included!) Here are some basic ideas:

  • Basic nail care (trim and file your nails, clip your cuticles)
  • Face masks- I like this brand a lot!
  • Hot towels
  • Tweeze your brows- I think these are really cute!
  • Lotion
  • Back, foot, or full body massages…

4. Attend College Organized Activities

Most colleges have weekly organized activities. Look on their website- you might find free movies, food, crafts, and more fun things!

5. Have a Starlight Picnic

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic under the stars! Find a local spot, or just sit down on the lawn! Blankets, twinkling lights, food, cuddling… so romantic.

Tip: Use this special Picnic Backpack and Blanket to really set the night up for success!

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6. Compete in a Library Scavenger Hunt

Photo by Ivo Rainha on Pexels.com

Pre-select around 10 books (probably an odd number so you don’t tie), go to your college’s library, and let the hunt begin! Bonus: check one out and read it together.

7. Make a Time Capsule

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Put in photos, print out a playlist, use business cards from your favorite places. Write a letter for each other to open when you dig it up.

8. Learn a Tik Tok Dance

Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

If you’re into Tik Tok, this is a great way to have fun and get moving as a couple. Imagine the people you’ll impress! Or you could just keep it to yourself.

9. Teach Each Other How to Do Something

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This is a fun way to share your interests, and maybe create more!

10. Get Down and Dirty in the Bedroom.

Photo by Tomas Andreopoulos on Pexels.com

Put some effort into actually planning a night in the bedroom. You’re only in college once (typically). Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and try new things! And um.. don’t forget to use protection.

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*Bonus* 5 Cheap Date Ideas

1. Walmart $20 Competition

Go to Walmart with a $20 budget. You can do one of two things:

  • Give each person $10 to find the other person a gift
  • Have a competition to see who can find the most fun activity for the night

2. Go to Drive-in Movie

This could take a bit of traveling depending on where you live, but it will be worth it! The privacy of your car makes it much more romantic.

3. Visit a Pumpkin Patch and Carve Pumpkins

It’s fall, y’all! Have some fun and go to a pumpkin patch, take some cute pictures, and get to carving! This carving kit has a really cute storage container!

4. Pay a Visit to a Local Museum

Photo by Una Laurencic on Pexels.com

Most colleges have a museum nearby. It may sound boring, but once you get there you won’t want to leave!

5. Go to an Arcade and Play Laser Tag

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Let the games begin.

Well, that’s all for today! Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe!

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