Budgeting key for college students

Story by Jessica Lane

According to pop star Jessie J, “It’s not about the money.” But for a majority of college students, it is all about the money.

It’s not hard to find something to spend your money on. Clothes, food, tuition – the list is endless. Budgeting is the key to a successful bank account, and the key to budgeting is knowing where to draw the line.

Here are six tips to help you form a budget:

1. Little things add up.

Whenever a group of friends want to go to Sonic for happy hour, avoid going and just stick to drinking water. It’s healthier and keeps an extra $1.34 in your pocket.

2. Sharing is caring.

Trips to Lawrence, Manhattan or Kansas City can kill a person’s wallet and tank. Try carpooling with friends. Each week trade off on who drives or have friends help out with gas money.

3. List making is a must.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education writes tips about how to budget titled “10 Budgeting Tips.” It is important to “align your budget with your goals and values.” Make a list of where you go and how much you spend on certain things. At the end of the month, see where you are spending the most money and try cutting back on things you do not need.

4. Avoid sales traps.

This includes the Mass. Street window-shopping trap in Lawrence. Although the windows say “sale,” it is just a way to lure you in to buy something more expensive that you probably did not need. Instead, try shopping at Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls or T.J. Maxx. They have trendy clothes that are always on sale.

5. What you want vs. What you need

Get exactly what you need out of the way and then you can spend the rest of your budget on what you want. Sometimes you can’t always get what you want, though, so try and spread your needs out throughout the month. Then you aren’t doing a giant grocery list each month.

6. Cash money is the best money.

According to Forbes Magazine “the average college student graduates with $4,100 in credit card debt.” Instead of using a credit card, just use old-fashioned cash or a debit card. This keeps you from spending money that isn’t actually in your pocket.

While a budget is a great idea to save money, it can be nearly impossible to stick to it 100 percent of the time. If you do spend outside of your budget, remember to forgive yourself and move on, because Jessie J. had it right – it really isn’t all about the money.