College Woman on a Budget

By Hannah Sherman, JWI Intern

The wise milkman, Tevye, expressed it best when he sang the immortal words “If I were a rich man,” imagining the leisurely, carefree life he would lead if only he were wealthy. Now, as a college student, I can say from experience that my generation echoes this sentiment, wondering how simple life would be if only we were rich people too (“Yibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum”). Attempting to balance the cost of textbooks, exponentially increasing tuition, rent, and the expenditures that come with an active social life can be a daunting and seemingly impossible task; however, by harnessing the power of living on a budget, we can make the most out of the money that we do have.

Her Campus compiled a list of 10 Easy Ways to Save Money In College, stressing the importance of learning to live on a budget. With tips from investing in a reusable water bottle to cutting coupons (don’t worry, no one is suggesting you take it to the level of the people on Extreme Couponing), young people can learn to be fiscally responsible, setting the tone for our adult lives.

Working on a budgeting plan is the key to making sure you will not run out of money while in college. Saystudent.com published a downloadable school budgeting worksheet to help college students clearly see how they are going to spend their money from housing to tuition to the cost of a social life. By digitally mapping out exactly how much money is set aside for each given category, it provides concrete boundaries to follow and decreases the chance of frivolously straying from the budget. Additionally, through mint.com, you can create a monthly budget for free and learn to track it and monitor your spending habits.

For young women in particular, the importance of living on a budget is extremely pertinent. Being in control of monetary matters and being an independent woman go hand in hand; by taking control of our own financial assets we are exemplifying that we are strong and empowered women, not dependent on others for fiscal assistance. If young women practice living on a budget from a young age, we are taking great advances in assuring that all women and girls live happy and autonomous lives, free from the crippling grip of economic dependency.

In our current world where there are an increasing number of women in the workforce, it is true—now, more than ever—that women are capable of taking care of themselves. As the power duo of Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox so poignantly proclaim, “Sisters are doing it for themselves!”

Additional Resources:
More tips on creating a budget and sticking to it from Kiplinger’s Editor Janet Bodnar.

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