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Budget Buster: 4 Tips To Help You Stay Out Of The Red in College

Oct 27, 2016

It’s never easy making ends meet. But if you’re consistently finding yourself running out of money, you need to find a way to fix it before you max out your credit cards purchasing things you cannot afford. Here are 4 tips to keep you out of the red.

Make a Budget

If you’re wanting to stay out of the red, the most important thing you can do is know where your money is going. 

Track your expenses for a month, and divide everything up into categories. This will help you get a realistic picture of how you’re spending your money each month. This helps to identify areas where you can cut back. 

You might notice that you spent $400 on fast food last month. Track your expenses and use that knowledge to create a budget, or a goal for how much you’d like to spend in each category. Then, most importantly, stick to your budget.

Cut Expenses

If you’re wanting to save money, look for areas in your budget where you can cut back, or eliminate altogether. Evaluate each payment you make, and decide whether or not it’s essential. Do you really need those extra cable channels, or that monthly magazine subscription? 

Can you reduce your cell phone plan for additional savings? Cutting back on monthly fees can help out your bottom line tremendously.

Avoid “Good Deal Syndrome”

Don’t buy something simply because it’s a good deal. Yes, you might have just saved 50%, but you weren’t planning on buying that item originally. So technically, you just spent extra money that you hadn’t planned on. 

Getting trapped into the ‘good deal’ mindset is so easy to do, but should be avoided. Splurging on items just because they’re a good deal is a great way to spend your budget and not on the things you actually need. Only buy what you need, not what is on sale.

Shop Around For Deals

If you’re wanting to stay out of the red, you must make every dollar count. Maximize your purchasing potential by shopping around for deals. While it can be tempting to buy name-brand items, typically you’re just paying for the label. 

To save money, try lower-cost, generic items instead. Not everything is better just because it costs more. Check for online coupons on your phone before you complete a purchase, as you may be able to save 15% simply by doing a Google search in the checkout line. You may also change where you shop. 

For expensive but necessary items like tires, consider going to Discount Tire Centers to find quality products for a lower price. You can also shop second hand stores or stores with significantly discounted items that may be ‘last season’, but are still fully functional and could work for what you need.

No matter how much money you make, you will always find more ways to spend it. The key to a successful financial future is knowing your own limitations, and finding the best way to live within those limits.

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