Friend Fatima: How to budget for the school year

If you would like Fatima’s advice, visit to send it anonymously. Look for this column every week for your answer or go online to to find your answer.

Tip: How to budget this semester and not blow all your money in one weekend.

So it’s that time of year again when we all have to get back into the swing of things! It’s easy to just want to have fun and go out all the time because most of us are still in that “summer” mode. If you’re anything like me you had a whole summer to-do list planned and before you knew it, summer just completely went over your head and you accomplished maybe one thing off your list.

One thing I think most of us struggle with is budgeting. It is a good tool to have and learn how to do early, for all you freshmen. When we think about college most of us like to go out on the weekend. One thing I know I struggle with is planning what bill is due when and saving for that bill’s due date. I’ve learned that quickly paying everything last minute leaves you broke and living paycheck to paycheck. Surprisingly, there are ways to actually budget throughout the month so you are not hurting after bills are due.

The first step is to identify how you’re spending money now. By doing this it allows you to see exactly where your money is going, and will show you where it’s not going and probably should be going. You need to evaluate your current spending and set goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives. Where do you need your money to go. It helps to set aside an “extra cash flow” amount so you know exactly how much you can spend per week on a surprise food outing with a friend or buying a little something to reward yourself. When you know how much extra you have you don’t have to fear that your credit card will be declined at the register. If you track your spending and make sure it stays within your set guidelines you’ll sleep much better at night.

With all these tips in mind, and actually doing them, you will have a less stressed semester. When you’re not worried about things, like money, you have more time to focus on what really matters like school, friends and actually having relaxation time. Budgeting will eliminate having to pick up extra shifts at work and will let you know exactly how much money you can spend when going out on the weekends. Utilize your budgeting skills and any accounting friends you have. Have a great start of the semester and good luck with that budgeting. Don’t let your shopping blues get the best of you.