Building a Budget

Looking ahead to my freshman year of college, money is the first thing on my mind. With the high cost of education, the beginning of life on my own, and the endless “wants” that plague my shopping list, I’ve realized that it’s time to manage the money I’m making and spend it wisely. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my first few jobs, it’s that money comes and goes pretty quickly. Budgeting money is hard, but I have found a few tools to help keep me on track.

Taking advantage of all of the features that my bank account offers has provided a lot of help in my quest for the perfect budget. Jersey Shore State Bank provides an online banking service where, at any time, I can check my balance, transfer funds, and look over my recent charges or deposits. Having this has made me acutely aware of exactly how I’m spending my money and how much I have left. Having to look at the number rather than blindly spend has made me more responsible.

Mint, a personal finance and budgeting website and app, has helped me create a budget I can stick to. When creating a Mint account, you’re asked to make a monthly budget and assign a dollar amount to each category of spending (i.e. gas, grocery, shopping). After you create your budget, Mint tracks spending on your card and alerts you if you’re nearing or exceeding your budget. Not only does it provide a budget, but it also integrates all of your accounts in one place. Therefore, you can check on how much is in your checking account, savings, debt on your credit card, loans, and more.

It’s so easy to spend money, but with the right help, saving it can be too. Learning how to find the perfect balance of spending and saving is a huge goal of mine for college, and hopefully I can find a way to get there.