Tips and Tools for Managing Your Money

Managing money and budgeting sounds difficult and not much fun. But it’s really about making your money matter. And it doesn’t have to mean missing out on things you want and need. Here are a few tips to making the most of your money:

Know how much money you have to spend. How much money is coming in each month from sources like a job or allowance? If it’s not enough to cover your expenses or enable you to buy the things you want, you may need to work more hours, get a better job or find another source of income.

Determine your expenses. If you have a car, how much do you spend each month on gas, insurance and maintenance? What do you spend on clothing? Coffee or energy drinks? Games and apps? Dating or going out with friends?

Understand what you need vs. what you want. What are the things you have to have? And what would you like to have, but can live without? For example, do you really need your own car — or are there more affordable options, like borrowing your parents’ car, carpooling with friends or using public transportation? 

Learn to prioritize. The key is to determine the things that are most important to you, then set short-term or long-term savings goals and work toward achieving those goals. Wanting something badly enough makes it easier to cut out the expenses associated with items that are lower priorities.

Figure out the pros and cons. Whatever you choose to spend your money on means choosing to give up something else. Making a list can be helpful when deciding what choice will make you happiest.

By understanding the importance of managing your money and budgeting before going off to college, you’ll be embarking on a positive path that will help solidify your financial future in terms of successfully using credit, getting a loan for a car or future home, and even saving for your retirement.