So have any of you ever reached into your pocket, wallet or purse and looked for that $20 you know you have only to find that it is missing? Then you think: “Wait, who took my money?” or “I lost that $20!” Your answer more than likely is that you did lose that $20 but not in the logical sense of it falling out of your pocket, but rather you lost track of it at some point and ended up using it on something else. More often than not, this is what happens when you keep your budget in your head. At some point you will lose track of something and you will either overspend or worse yet, not know how you spent your money. When most people think of budgeting they probably think back to what I refer to as the “Middle Ages of Balancing your Checkbook.” Most of you may not have ever heard of it and we will not bore you with the details, but if you’re ever bored enough, google it. So, what are some other ways in which you can keep a budget that is not in your head so that you won’t keep losing your money?
I am all about embracing technology, 21st Century girl here! And what kind of millennial would I be if my budgeting tool would not be technology based? Now, hopefully we all know that the two main components of making a budget are income and expenses. I use the Mint App for all my budgeting needs. The app is pretty awesome because it allows me to input my information from my bank to keep track of what money is coming in, my income and what money is going out, my expenses. Also, Mint allows me to input all my bills/expenses. The app even allows the input of information from any credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. I love this app because it even sends reminders or it verifies by email if it shows unusual activity. Mint allows me to keep a budget at my fingertips without all the fuss of having to jot it all down or balance a checkbook!
If Mint is too high tech for you or you don’t like sharing your financial information, fear not, the Student Money Management Office has a tool for you, the semester budgeting template. You can edit it by adding in your numbers to some basic items such as how much money you will be receiving from financial aid or how much you have to pay for your cell phone plan as well as tuition and fees. The Student Money Management Office believes that creating a semester budget rather than a monthly budget is a better tool to help you plan for the entire semester.
It does not matter whether you choose to do your budget through a budgeting app or a spreadsheet. Always remember…you cannot “freestyle” your budget. You want to get it out of your head and have it written down.