Let’s face it: it’s easy to waste money. Going out with friends can be expensive, but these moments are free of guilt before we pay the bill. That impulse buy on Amazon may not hurt at the time, but out of control spending can leave us paying overdraft fees. With so many ways to utilize the resources that God has given us, how can we be wise with the money we have? Here are some ways that you can save money and plan for your future!
The first step to successful financial planning is to keep your goals in mind. Knowing what we want to save up for is easy, but often various small purchases can block us from reaching these goals. By understanding what big items we want to work towards, resisting the temptation of smaller purchases becomes much easier. Saving up for the items we truly want can only be achieved through self control.
Second, each paycheck needs to be partially saved for emergencies. It is impossible to tell what will happen to any of us tomorrow. Nobody plans on car troubles, sudden illness, or family emergencies. These events catch us off guard emotionally, but they don’t have to catch us off guard financially. An easy way to plan for emergencies is to put 20 percent of each paycheck in an emergency fund. This way, even if you can’t fully cover an unexpected expenditure, the burden will at least be alleviated.
Another way to save money is to build a budget. A budget is a list of all the money you are paid minus the money you spend. Building a budget helps students see how much money is being spent where, so they can cut down on spending. Going out to dinner with friends several nights a week may seem harmless at the time, but seeing how much money it takes over a two week period can be the first step to altered habits.
One final way to save money is to reduce spending on purchases that are necessary. You don’t have to stop buying toothpaste to save money, but buying a less expensive brand can help free up more money for you to reach your financial goals. This principle can apply to virtually every necessity one needs to buy, especially toiletries and food. Even clothes, which can eat up so much of our budget, can be found at much less expensive prices at places like Goodwill and Daisy Exchange.
Saving money and planning for the future takes one key element: self control. Living independently can feel liberating, but it can also set us up for failure if we don’t take personal responsibility for our actions. While peer pressure can be a large force in the spending of money, the only person who can control your finances is you. So, maybe the next time you feel like heading out for dinner, instead spend the night on campus knowing that you’re working toward your goals!