Budgeting saves big bucks

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Budgeting saves big bucks

Nick Tucker, Senior News Reporter

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Natalie Melendez, a senior who works for 88.1 The Burg, said she taught herself how to budget after nearly becoming homeless when her father lost his business during the recession in 2008. For her, budgeting is a lifelong skill that has helped to create financial stability in her life now and hopefully going into the future.

“People say that money doesn’t rule the world, but it totally does, we need money to survive,” Melendez said. “I think it’s good, especially now while we might not be totally independent, to know how to budget. It’s so strenuous to always be living paycheck to paycheck.”

Not every student had Melendez’s difficult situation to teach them the value of budgeting. Students who want to learn about budgeting can speak to professors in the economics department  like accounting professor Dr. Steven Hawkins and personal financial planning professor Steele Campbelle.

The first thing Campbelle says students should do when they are beginning to design a budget is to know themselves. His advice is to ask yourself if you are the type of person who is going to stick to a budget and if you are going to be able to remember to stick to the rules that you gave yourself. If you don’t think you are going to be able to adhere strictly to those rules, Campbelle advises you to build more flexibility into your budget.

According to Hawkins, even though a lot of students might be hesitant to make a budget, doing so will help them greatly in the long run.

“For one, it creates good habits. It’s a good time, in school, while you’re learning, while you have less money,” Hawkins said. “If you’ve learned how to manage your income and budget when it’s harder, when you continue those practices you will ultimately have more flexibility and more freedom. You’ll be able to manage your money rather than having your money manage you.”

Hawkins said that he started budgeting when he was eight years old to save up for a mountain bike. He did what many people do when they start budgeting, he made an excel spreadsheet and logged his expenses and income, neither of which he had much of at eight years old. Part of these habits were instilled in him by his father, who told him, “If you spend the first half of your life living like most people won’t, you can spend the second half of your life living like most people can’t.”

Campbelle thinks that most students don’t make and stick to a budget because it sacrifices some of the newly-found flexibility that adult life comes with.

“If by the end of the month, I don’t have any more money to go hang out with friends, then I have to tell myself ‘no,’ I have to make decisions that I don’t want to make,” Campbelle said. “I think people don’t do it because they’re worried that they’re going to make a rule and immediately break it.”

Both professors Hawkins and Campbelle insist that the most important part of budgeting is just to start doing it and get better along the way.

“Be okay with not doing well your first time around. Just like everything else, budgeting, sticking to a budget takes practice,” Campbelle said.

 

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