Student 101: Budgeting

As a student, I have become very familiar with the struggles of money management (a fancier term for budgeting). Therefore, I’ve devised a know-how on money management based on my experiences.

By no means is this a practical guide to budgeting, but it has worked wonders for me and at the end of the month, I feel better knowing that not all my savings have gone out the window. So, if you’re interested, keep on reading.

Cafeteria food is the enemy

Repeat this as many times as you want. Use it as a mantra.
Although it is less expensive than buying food from a restaurant, you will be sucked into the habit of relying on cafeteria food for the rest of your student life and the costs will surely add up; whereas cooking at home is actually a cheaper alternative and doesn’t require you to spend too frequently.

So even though there is the urge to have hot chocolate or a sandwich after a lengthy day of lectures and seminars, resist. You must.

The trick is avoiding the cafeteria or even looking at the menu. Try focusing on something else as you speed past the cashier.

Don’t limit yourself from doing or getting things that will make you happy

So, you’re serious about money management. You’ve invested in a good budget planner and you know where your expenses are going. You closely monitor your budgeting for a couple months but eventually you hit a wall.

I’ve hit that wall numerous times. Eventually I was able learn that it’s because I was too harsh on myself for spending money on things that was just for me.
If you start feeling this way, then it’s a sign that you should loosen up on your money management. Budgeting doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to treat yourself to a nice dinner with your friends or splurge on things that will make you happy.

Plan your budget planning in such a way that it will include this. Knowing how to occasionally treat yourself will give you a healthier view on managing your finances. So just do it, you earned it!

“No one has ever become poor by giving”

This last tip was inspired by none other than Anne Frank. In fact, the line that you’ve just read was a quoted directly from her.

You must be thinking how giving makes you gain something. But studies have shown that our brains are actually “hardwired to serve”. There is a part of our brain called the anterior prefrontal cortex that responds positively when we decide to do an act of selflessness. This response suggests that people who choose to do good feel good as well.

So, giving is not just a case of sacrificing something. By donating to charity or volunteering, you can become happier and gain something greater than money.

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