Dea Ellie: Budgeting

Ellie Weidner, Lifestyle Editor

Dear Ellie,

I just can’t seem to get a tight hold on my wallet! Money just keeps falling out of it and into cash registers! I’m on a fixed allowance from my parents, but it never seems to be enough! Please Help!!!!!

Addie W.

Dear Addie W.,

        Well lucky for you, I am here for any and all kinds of questions anyone may have. Living off a fixed income, especially when some of us may be used to just using our parent’s money, is very hard. A lot of times people get into serious debt because they can’t curb their spending habits. Luckily, for all of the students here at UW-Whitewater, the facilities here are almost completely free including free healthcare and free laundry, which many other campuses don’t have. But having a few extra pennies never hurt anyone.

        Now, one way that may work in your favor not only now but for your future resume, is getting a student job on campus. The hours are few, set to what works with your class schedule and not very hard at all. I suggest heading down to Willie’s 360 (UC) and picking up an application. Bi-weekly paychecks are sure to lighten your fiscal load.

        But getting more money won’t necessarily help if you just spend more than what you are spending currently to match your income. In the “real” world, you never know what can happen, and a fiscal cushion to protect you in case of any emergency is needed. One of my favorite ways to save money while spending money is having a coin jar. Whenever you get back to your dorm everyday, empty your purse, wallet or pockets of spare change and dump it into a container you have set aside. It may not seem like much now but did you know if you fill an empty water bottle completely with dimes that equals about 10 dollars? Spare change has a funny way of accumulating and snowballing into large amounts if you just let it be and slowly fill your container day by day.

        Another useful technique would be to get a Spending Buddy. Sure, you can promise yourself you won’t spend more than this set amount of money, but in the end it helps to have someone watching you over your shoulder. Have an agreement when you get your money to put away a specific amount into a separate bank account if you are dealing with electronic money and have your buddy do the same. Whenever you plan on spending money, shoot them a message and talk about it first. When you go out shopping, agree to a set dollar amount you wont go over under any circumstances. Negotiate ways that you and your buddy can be motivated to pinch your pennies more.

        Finally, and probably one of my favorite ways to save money when you’re walking around a store is to avoid impulse buys. Carry the item around in your hand, not in your cart or bag, so as to give you a slight inconvenience. After perusing the whole store and if you still have that thing or things in your hand, think about it one more time. “Do I really need this?” “Can I get it somewhere cheaper?” “With this price, I could buy this many Starbucks lattes. Is it really worth that?” I like this technique because it ensures you actually like what you’re getting and that when you get home you won’t just throw it under your bed and forget about it until it’s move out day. Plus, it gives you the chance to grow emotionally attached to something you really love. Some of my favorite outfits I got using this idea.

        Overall, saving can be hard. But it’s a necessary skill to learn and practice early. Especially before you accumulate any student debt.

        I hope this helps, Addie!

                    Ellie W.

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