We’ve come to the end of the road, and while I would link you to that Boyz II Men song, I’m trying to keep the cheesiness to a minimum. The purpose of this blog was to give you guys a peek into my reality, to help you realize that most post-secondary students are alike (education = 4-8 years at the bottom of the income bracket).
This was really more like a personal diary for me – something to show that learning how to be organized with money is an important skill that should be learned as soon as possible. It’s not about having to totally reinvent who you are as a person; financial efficiency is something you have to integrate into your normal, everyday life. Most people don’t need to hire tutors, but good job on Britney for making the effort!
Anyway, as you may already have realized, most of my expenses revolve around feeding myself study snacks. At first, I was shocked to realize how much of my money was going toward food but I’ve come to accept and expect it now. Eating is one part of my expenses I do not regret (because as I’ve said before, I do like to travel the world via my taste-buds). Since I know now that I cannot avoid this expense, it has resulted in me pushing thoughts of other things I want to buy to the back of my mind. This means no new clothes since Boxing Day but a happy tummy . I urge you all to look in to your expenses, and see what it is that you cannot avoid buying and learn to accept it instead of feeling bad about spending the money that you did.
This is not to say that I didn’t learn anything new in the five months; au contraire! While writing these blog posts I found myself generating tips I had not previously thought to use for myself but turned out to be really useful for me (and you too I hope!). Here’s a summary of what I think are 3 important first steps/tips to a healthy budget, from my perspective:
- Pause. Have you been whipping out your credit/debit cards without keeping track of how much goes out? Some people keep a mental check of how much they have in their bank accounts and how much they are spending, but this mental check may not be so accurate.
Check. Keep an expenses chart. All you need to do is make sure to update it every few days. At this point, you don’t need to be making any life changes. All this expenses chart involves is just a few clicks on your keyboard to insert the amount you’ve spent and where.
Reflect. At the end of the month or after a few weeks, add up your expenses. You may be pleased to realize you haven’t gone over budget or you may become distraught to learn those new duds you thought you would be able to afford actually landed you in the red. You can choose to change up how you go about spending your money or not, but from experience and friends’ anecdotes, just seeing all the numbers on the screen together can come as a shock!
These are the three most important steps to starting good financial habits. When you start to reflect on what you’ve been doing with your money, it allows you to appreciate the value of money management. Following reflection, you can choose to curb you spending, cancel your extra credit cards or start allocating money to deposit into your savings fund! But just realizing the importance of keeping track of your expenses is an excellent first step in helping you to achieve stellar financial management!
On that note, I’ll use these last few sentences to say goodbye and thank the Investor Education Fund for giving me the opportunity to learn more about my everday finances.
I’d also like to thank you – the audience – for joining me in my journey to better understand and take control of my finances. I’ve learnt a lot and hope you have too!