In an effort to improve my wellbeing I took a look at my finances. As a college student this can be particularly difficult because we don’t really know where to begin. I read Kerri’s blog post about finances and checked out her link to CNN’s Money 101. I found this to be a helpful tool.
Once I read a few of the lessons it became clear where to start. Create financial goals, prioritize those goals, and make a budget. To choose financial goals I just thought about my goals in general. I want to study abroad next summer, graduate from WSU in the next two years, and go to grad school. To turn these goals into financial goals and prioritize them I looked at how long I had to accomplish them, how much money I will need to accomplish them, and how many people each goal will affect.
I decided that saving up money for a study abroad trip is my first priority. I only have one year to save up funds, I will get college credit for the trip, and the more I contribute the less my family members will have to help finance the trip, making them and their wallets happier. Next on my list is saving money to pay back my undergraduate debt. The sooner this is accomplished the better. Collecting interest on loans can make college even more expensive than it already is. Finally, I would like to put money towards my future of graduate school and being financially dependent from my family members.
I thought making a budget would be really hard, but it’s not! According to several sources a good start is to track how much money you spend in one week. I grouped my expenses into categories such as groceries, rent, home expenses, gas, and other recurring themes. Then I took a look to see what spending I could reduce in order to increase my savings for the three goals I previously discussed. Finally, I delegated a certain percentage of my income to each category. For categories such as food, rent, and gas I continue to keep funds in a checking account. However, all of the money I want to put towards reaching my goals I automatically put into a savings account. This way I can’t spend it even if I want to!
It’s important to have a budget to make sure you aren’t spending more than you should on items that aren’t important to you. But make sure to set aside a little money for fun things like seeing a movie or grabbing ice cream. Otherwise it will be impossible to stay on track.
If paying for college has a large impact on your finances, too, check out the Wellbeing website under the financial tab. This offers resources that can link you to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Services which breaks down the cost of tuition, financial aid, and scholarships. Also, check out some of the financial workshops in the fall. For more information about managing your finances visit the following sites.
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/ (for everything you need to know!)
http://www.finaid.wsu.edu/ (for tuition expenses, scholarship, and financial aid info)
http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/financial.aspx (the definition of financial wellbeing)
https://urec.wsu.edu/register/search.aspx?style=wb&st=Financial (where we post info about financial workshops during the school year)
http://www.urec.wsu.edu/urecnews/post/2012/06/05/Taking-Charge-of-Your-Personal-Finances.aspx (Kerri's Financial Blog Post)
https://wsu.studentemployment.ngwebsolutions.com/cmx_content.aspx?cpId=6 (where to find student jobs at WSU)
Photo courtesy of http://melindascashsource.wordpress.com/