Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Budget right: students must make concerted effort to meet financial goals

For many college students, managing money is an ongoing struggle and can be hard to master in addition to classes and a busy lifestyle. Whether saving for the future or budgeting from week to week, many students are taking a pragmatic approach to finances, spending mainly on basic costs like rent and food and saving the splurges for special occasions.

Paige Bussanich, a senior majoring in psychology and political science, is primarily using her paychecks to save for graduate school. However, Bussanich has more than just the cost of graduate school in mind as applying for schools and taking the GRE is expensive in itself.

“In the graduate school process I knew how much I would need for each graduate application, so I would try to put a little bit away at a time,” she said.

Though Bussanich’s main costs are practical ones like rent and groceries, she uses her credit card for purchases like shopping and the occasional splurge, but she still manages to spend responsibly.

“I only buy something [on credit] if I know I can pay it off within a month,” she said. “So if I want to splurge or go shopping, I use my card for that, but I make sure I pay it off.”

To keep track of finances, Bussanich suggests keeping a ledger for transactions, especially when paying with checks, which can take time to process. Bussanich has also taken advantage of budgeting apps and online banking to help her manage her money and keep tabs on her spending.

Like Bussanich, Courtney Webb, a sophomore majoring in human environmental science, also spends most of her money on practical costs like gas and groceries. Webb takes a systematic approach to keeping track of her costs.

“I have a sheet where I write down my rent and all the bills and I know how much I’m going to make each week, so I calculate to make sure I have enough to pay my bills on time,” Webb said.

In addition to paying her bills, Webb also tries to set aside spending money and money to contribute to her church.

“I try to set a certain amount of money aside that I can spend and I try to stay within that, so when I really want something I have to second guess myself and ask ‘Do I have enough money to buy this?’” she said.

Though some students are only able to budget from month to month, senior interior design major Megan Jones is saving what she can to ensure her financial security after graduation.

“I am saving for once I do graduate, so in case for some reason I don’t have a job right off the bat, I will have some money saved up for a little while,” Jones said. “It depends on how much my bills are that month. Usually I put a third of each paycheck [in savings].”

While it appears many students prioritize costs like rent and food before spending their money, organizational communication instructor Caroline Parsons finds that students’ mismanagement of money can signal poor management of other areas such as time and grades. To avoid this problem, Parsons stressed the importance of knowing the difference between needs and wants.

“In the second half of the semester, people get into tight spots,” Parsons said. “If you don’t manage your money well, then all you’re resources suffer as well, your time, your friends and you’re nervous. There’s this underlying tension when you know you haven’t managed your money well, so it’s very important to work with your parents to make a monthly budget and stick to it.”

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