The transition from high school to college is a lot like a cultural shock. New faces, adapting to a new setting, and having to put in a lot more time into studying can be a true challenge. Where does the chaos end? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Welcome to adulthood, where adapting to the real world can be a true slap in the face if you’re not prepared for it. Starting college also means that you’re also interested in housing outside of your guardian’s home. When you have all of that money saved up and ready for your own place, maybe with a roommate, you have to be careful of balancing that money and the money that you know you need, such as electricity, schooling, and food. Remember that one time when you were a child and said how excited you were to be an adult? Has it met your expectations so far? If it hasn’t, then my advice on how to maintain your budget will transition you in the best way to adulthood.
Now, I have never been smart with money. I know what it’s like to see a $300 check come through and spend it on something that I have been dying to have. But did I really need it? Was it going to keep me alive to see another day? Probably not, but there is a solution to help prevent that: Set goals for yourself. Look at your calendar, pick whatever date seems reasonable to you, and make sure that you are determined by that date that you will have saved that much money. Make a goal that a year from now that you will invest your money into mutual funds and try to double up on your money rather than spend on that new video game or new phone you just needed. A year from now, I am positive that you would have wanted your money to go up and not down. But what’s a good way to motivate yourself into breaking bad habits?
In my last article of Operation: Adulthood, I talked a lot about motivating yourself. When things seem tough, we put ourselves in a tough situation that we believe that we can’t get out of. Your biggest motivator is going to be yourself; therefore, you have to keep telling yourself that a year from now, you’re going to realize that making that sacrifice on not buying that video game helped put you in a much better position. Use your money confidently, not spontaneously.
If you have a tough time trying to figure out a budget for yourself, then the best solution is to make separate bank accounts that tie to one specific occasion. For example, make an account that ties specifically to your college funds. The only money that will ever come out of that account will only be used for either tuition or books. My best suggestion for maintaining a good budget with your bank account is to make 4 separate bank account for yourself. One for college, another for housing, another for other payments, and another for your own needs. When that $300 check comes in again, split that 4 ways into your bank accounts and I promise you that you will not only see your money grow, but your dreams as well.
Don’t be fooled by your temptations that cycle in your life. Avoid being indulged into what you want and allow other companies to trick you into believing that what you are buying is a necessity. By the end of the day, you have to make sure that you can afford 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, a car to get to work, and the necessities needed to stay healthy. When it seems like a good deal to pay for a monthly subscription service, ask yourself this: Is this going to get me to my goals within the next year? Use your money confidently, not spontaneously.