Money management is always a hot topic and there are various strategies for managing finances and setting a budget floating around the Internet. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Money management is unique to everyone. It can be challenging managing your money when you are a full-time learner. Some learners may have a job while balancing school, but many learners do not work. Learners who work and don’t work should both be conscious of how their money is being divided and work to set a budget. It’s time to position yourself in the right direction in terms of finances. Don’t live paycheck to paycheck after graduation.
Money management and learning the art of budgeting, along with other focuses, is a service our Learner Advising and Life Resources Department (LALR) offers to learners. Nursing school is a big investment. We know that with such an investment, our learners should be provided with resources to help manage their finances. Not only is money management a skill that is necessary while in school but long after you have graduated.
For more information about money management for learners, contact the LALR Department.
Tips for Money Management
Here are a few tips and a few websites that will help you manage your money while in school that you can continue to use later after graduation.
Set a budget. As mentioned, a specific budget will not work for everyone. Even a budget that you are using may need tweaking here and there to adjust to the new priorities you have set. A budget is meant to allocate your money to your top priorities first, including savings. We suggest the 50/20/30 budget rule.
Here is the 50/20/30 budgeting rule:
50% of your income is for fixed or essential spending (like rent, food, student loans, etc.)
20% of your income is for savings or paying off debt
30% of your income is for flexible spending (like phone, gas, entertainment, etc.)
To learn more about the 50/20/30 budgeting rule, ask the LALR Department or click here to view an article by Mint, an Intuit product.
Set your priorities. According to the 50/20/30 budgeting rule, fifty percent of your income should be directed at essentials (or priorities). Take a few minutes to jot down the essential spends that you have. Be very careful to only include what is necessary in your life such as rent and food.
Always have an emergency fund. When setting a budget, many people forget to include an emergency fund. An emergency fund goes beyond what is included in your savings account. Always set some of your income aside for your emergency fund. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.
Stay on top of your budget and finances. How often do you check your bank statements? Make it a routine to check the status of your bank accounts at least once a week to every two weeks. It is easy to manage your money when you are fully aware of what you are spending on. Understanding where your money goes also gives you the ability to determine areas that you can cut back. It could be as simple as one or two less coffees a week or as impactful as cutting back in one area to pay more on a loan. You are able to make wiser decisions when you are knowledgeable of what is going on with your finances.
Work on paying off your debt. Paying off debt goes without saying, but it should be included in your essentials list. Depending on the amount of income you have allotted to pay specific debts, getting debt off your plate is a top goal.
Here are some tips to pay off debt and save at the same time:
- Eliminate any non-essential expenses
- Figure out exactly how much money you owe
- Create a new budget (using the 50/20/30 rule)
- Decide what percentage you want to put towards the debt. Maybe you will use 10% for debt and 10% for savings.
- Make it automatic. Set this up through your bank so that you don’t even have to think about it each month.
Eight Frugal Habits to Live By
Living frugal means being resourceful and smart with your money. Are you frugal with your money?
Here are eight frugal habits to live by:
- Think long term. Is this something that you would still want in 5 years?
- Pay your future self, first (saving is key!)
- Use everything to the last drop
- Look for deals and clip coupons
- Cook food at home rather than going out
- Don’t shop for entertainment
- Use a credit card with good rewards
- Carry just enough cash with you so you don’t over spend
Along with the tips we have provided, there are several resources available to use such as BalanceTrack and MyMoney. If you have questions regarding the validity of a money management site, ask us and we can direct you in the right direction. Until then, check out these two sites by clicking the links below.
BalanceTrack: This website is a free short course that teaches you the core concepts of money management. This course will teach you how to set goals, get organized, track spending, build a budget, and save money. Click here to head on over to the site.
MyMoney: This website has financial aid counseling, money management resources, online counseling, budget calculators, and helps you navigate through the student loan process. Click here to check out the site.