By Taylor Ruhle

Does it feel like you just received your paycheck yet the money is gone already? Did you even get the opportunity to enjoy spending the money? If not, you may need to reevaluate how you’re spending. Here are a few useful tips to better budget your finances:

1) Get Organized: Knowing how much you have in your account and what you need to put your money towards (insurance, bills, etc.) verses what you want to put your money towards (movies, dinner off-campus, etc.) will help you out tremendously in the future. Mint, a free app from Intuit, allows you to see all of your balances and transactions in one place, helping you to see the whole picture and better track your spending and saving.

2) Use Cash Instead of Plastic: Though it is important to earn credit as you age, paying with cash helps you budget better. It’s so much easier to just swipe your credit or debit card when purchasing items but you have a higher tendency to overspend. Studies have shown that you spend 12-18% more with a credit card than you would with cash.

3) Stop Herding: Just because your friend buys something shiny and brand new does not mean that you need to purchase anything new – you don’t need to follow what everyone else is doing…aka the herd. Think about what you have and what makes sense to your specific financial situation. If you can’t afford that new phone, don’t buy it.

4) Set goals: Your goal can be short term or long term. Short term goals can be as simple as having some change in your pocket to go out to eat with friends. Long term goals could be things such as buying a new car or computer. Having goals allow you to focus saving your money on something you want to do, buy, etc.

5) Write It Down: Laying everything out can help you visually see where you need to focus your spending and savings and places you can probably cut back spending. $ALT’s Fixx app provides worksheets to help you track your expenses and see how small purchases can make a big impact overtime.

6) Save it! Fold your money up and put it in your pocket; it’s the best way to double it.

Writer BIO: Taylor Ruhle is a sophomore in the Fisheries and Wildlife program. Taylor works in the Academic Success Center as a Peer Financial Literacy Mentor. If you would like to meet with Taylor to further discuss strategies for budgeting while in college, she is available every Friday during common time in Library 206.