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Money Fitness

This guide includes resources for budgeting, credit cards, investment, loans and scholarships, and general money management.

Definition of Budgeting:

A budget is a plan to keep track of earnings and expenses. It is a financial plan used to predict and allocate money earned and spent each month. It can represent both goals, and limitations, depending on a person’s financial needs. Using a budget can help students visualize and understand exactly how much money they will have every month from all sources, as well as what expenses they need to prepare for.

Terminology of Budgeting​

  • Fixed expenses are expenses that stay the same from month to month, such as rent payments.​

  • Flexible expenses are expenses that change from month to month, such as how much you spend on utilities.​

  • Saving expenses are the money you set aside each month as a part of a saving plan

  • Total expenses are the combined amount of your fixed and flexible expenses.​

  • Total monthly income is the income from your job or other resources including investment dividends, pensions, Social Security benefits, rental income and more.​

  • Disposable income is the money you have left over after you subtract your income taxes from your income.​

Budgeting Tips​

Some general advice when creating your budget:

  • Overestimate expenses​
  • Underestimate income​
  • Ask for help​
  • Save​
  • Pay cash for small expenses​
  • Create a buffer in your budget​
  • Forgive yourself for small transgressions​
  • Differentiate between “Needs” And “Wants” in your budget​
  • Keep all of your bills and receipts organized​

Example Monthly Budget​

Rent $740 $740
Utilities $120 $134
Internet $45 $45
Food $150 $123
Car (Insurance, Gas) $78 $70
Total Cost $1,133 $1,112
(budgeted - actual = difference)   +$21

Budgeting Methods​

  • Envelope system: With this method, you create an envelope for each of your budget categories and fill it will the cash. You only put the amount of cash you wish to spend on that category. Once you are out of cash, you can no longer spend in that category. You can use digital envelopes for your fixed expenses if need be.​

  • Zero-base budget: This method gives every dollar you earn a job. You tell your money exactly where to go and how you will spend your funds. If you were to save and spend all of your money every month, you would be at zero.​
  • Reward yourself for success: While budgeting can be daunting, it helps if you can find ways to motivate yourself. Build reward systems into your monthly budget. If you stick to your budget for three months, budget a special reward. Making budgeting into a game where you’re rewarded for good financial behavior—is a fun way to get back to the basics of budgeting.​​

Budgeting in College

  • Go to university events​

  • Research textbook prices​

  • Apply for every scholarship you see​

  • Stick a percentage of your paycheck directly into savings​

  • Watch how much you are spending on food​

  •  Ask for student discounts​

  • Choose your housing wisely​

  • Take advantage of college amenities​