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Ways of Budgeting During School

2 February 2018
Kenneth Bennett
We have the pleasure to present to you the Dineh Vidal’s Winning Essay in our Winter 2017 DirectLoansLenders Scholarship Contest.

Ways of Budgeting During School – How to Secure the Bag

A challenge many people of all ages may face is learning how to finance. This problem most of the time hits the younger crowd harder, especially the younger people that are enrolled in school. Many of the young college students, like myself, have a hard time transitioning from working a small job and just paying for small personal expenses, to paying grown up bills like rent, utilities, and more.

In the financial aspect, our public education has failed us because coming right out of high school many young people don’t know simple things such as grocery shopping, all the way to significant things such as credit score, and financing bills. In this essay, I would like to reflect on things I’ve done and learned within my few years of adulthood to not drown in debt, and everyday bills. Things such as making sure tuition is paid, bills at home, and money spent during the free/fun time is going to be the main focuses in this essay to live a more, financially stable life. By the end of this essay, I hope to refresh a person’s mind that may have done these things while in school or teach a young person that small changes can always affect your pockets, negatively and positively.

Budgeting is more than just writing down what bills you owe down on a paper and calculated where your check is going to end up, budgeting is making sure every dollar counts, stretching it as much as you can. Budgeting is about getting your money’s worth every time, budgeting is about securing the bag! It’s about making sure you’re good this month, now time to start working towards next month and those expenses.

Tuition, books, and access codes! Oh my! These three reasons are why my bank account cries every syllabus week, but worry no more! I have a few tips that help you wipe a few of those tears with a dollar bill. To begin with, the most important bill must be covered to be able to attend school in the first place, yes tuition.

There are many ways that tuition can get covered, for example, many people apply for grants, but if they don’t qualify then they can still be covered by scholarships if they try hard enough and have the credentials to receive the said scholarship. If these two options don’t work then, many people result to taking out loans which is very convenient for people that may not have the GPA a lot of scholarships ask for, or it may help out international students that don’t qualify for the grants.

Secondly, books. Many professors nowadays will not even ask for a book anymore, but if a student has not one of THOSE professor’s, they can always rent a book instead of buying it, rent the e-book, an even cheaper option, or borrow a classmate’s book and make copies, yeah. I’ve been there. You get creative when you don’t have $200 plus dollars to spend on a book that’s not even for your major.

Bills, bills, bills, like the Destiny’s Child song. Many of us feel as if they never end. The bills are the first and most important thing that must be on every person’s list of things to pay on the 1st or 15th. Although the bills never end, the more desperate that I have become, the more money I have saved, when it comes to the utilities. For example, I’d rather spend all my free time at school/work, the fewer lights you use, the less your electricity bill will be. HA! But all jokes aside. It’s more than a good habit to shut off all lights unless you use them, turn off the faucet when washing dishes or brushing teeth, taking short showers, and even putting many electric items on a multiple cord and when not being used disconnect it because even that saves electricity. Groceries, everybody needs to eat, but nobody has to eat out.

A big part of budgeting is understanding you may want something but if you have to be tight with your money for this week, month, year, or whatever the case may be, if you don’t NEED it, then you shouldn’t get it or do it. A way that I have learned how to save on food is by meal prepping, is the healthier and more efficient choice. After grocery shopping for myself, I know what things I use religiously like pasta and certain vegetables, instead of buying hot pockets and chips, which would not fill me up and are more expensive. Also, another thing that has helped me budget in the grocery store is, of course, making a list, and even using coupons, many, many coupons. Coupons also help when it comes to having a good fun time, for example, a fun time for certain people may be going to an amusement park, which certain times of the year have specials, and the more people that are added usually have more discounts added.

Many of us have to realize that life can’t always be about working and never having any fun, but we can’t forget that we need to work to have a little bit of fun. Every person is different and budgets differently but this is the way that has helped me stretch my check to allow me to live the lifestyle I live as a student and still have all my bills covered. I hope I could have helped the reader in any way to better finance and set a budget for themselves to successfully not be harmful in their account and still attend school.

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