Living On A Budget
As a young person, your parents are probably paying for most, if not all, of your expenses. Perhaps you have a job, in which case you may be making some of your own money. However, because of the time that school takes up, you probably are only able to work part-time. This means that your income is limited to what your parents give you and what small amount of money you can make at your job. Learning how to budget your money is an invaluable skill that will help you to learn the value of money and make important decisions about what you need and what you can live without.
Budgeting starts by thinking about your expenses and what you can and cannot afford to buy. It also involves setting goals for what purchases you would like to make in the coming years, which can be very exciting and rewarding. Your parents may already be paying for your “big” expenses like rent, food and transportation costs (bus pass, car, etc.). They might also pay your phone and internet bill. In turn, you would then be responsible for paying for your clothing, hygiene products (like shampoo and conditioner) and your entertainment costs. All of these amenities add up and you will eventually have to pay for all of these things yourself.
Setting goals about when you will be able to afford a certain purchase is a really good way to initially ease yourself into a budget. If, for example, you currently work part-time hours (20-30 per week) and you want to buy a car within the next 4 years, you can calculate how much money you will have to put away in your savings account. Knowing this will help to set you up for success and encourage you to spend your money responsibly. It will help you to make tough decisions about what you really need and what you don’t (do you NEED that new Xbox game?).
Depending on your financial situation, you might also be responsible for paying your university or college tuition. These costs can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars and definitely require budget planning. You will need to factor in all of the above mentioned cost in addition to the cost of school. This is where applying for student loans and scholarships becomes vitally important. Remember – student loans you are required to pay back. Scholarships are essentially free money. Ensure you have applied for as many scholarships as possible!
All of this responsibility can tend to weigh down on you and make you feel trapped. But don’t worry! Everyone has a budget. Some are more restricted than others, but with a little creativity and organizational skills, you will be able to manage perfectly well and become a better person for it. Money comes and goes, but as long as you are doing your part to earn an income and to actively plan and manage your money, you will be fine.