Although money is something that’s probably always on your mind as a college student, the fact of the matter is that creating a budget isn’t really a life skill that many people get taught at any point. Sure, it might have gotten brought up at some point or another, but it seems like even in this day and age, helping students to create a solid budget isn’t really something that happens at any point in school.

Not to worry though, because in today’s post the team at Ram’s Crossing, your source for student apartments for rent in Fort Collins, is here to drop some knowledge on you. The idea of creating a budget can be really intimidating, and we know that some of you are already thinking something like, “Well, you don’t need a budget when you don’t have any money.” We can see the logic in that, but trust us when we say that building the skill of knowing where you’re money’s going now will save you a lot of headaches in the future. If your mind is on your money and your money is on your mind, keep reading to learn more about how to create a budget as a college student.

What You Need to Know About a Budget

What’s the first thing you need to do when thinking about a budget? Start by writing down what you’re currently paying for regularly. You will, of course, have things on there like rent, groceries, gas, and entertainment. You should also write down how much money is coming in on a monthly basis. Once that’s done, subtract the amount that’s going out from the amount that’s coming in. Is there still money left over? Great! If there’s not? Well, that’s okay too, because you can make some tweaks, and we’ll show you how.

The next step is to think about which of the things you’re spending money on are wants and which are needs. Now we’re certainly not here to lecture you about which is which, because the truth is that despite what many people claim, you should spend some of your money on your wants. Doing so is perfectly healthy. A problem can arise, however, when your wants start to trump your needs.

Come Up With a Plan

It might not be possible across the board, but if you can find ways to save money, by all means, take advantage. For example, are you paying for Netflix when your roommate has a Netflix account as well? Even splitting the cost can save you a few bucks every month.

What we’re getting at is this — if you know what you’re spending money on, you can create a plan for how you spend it. Once you know how much money is coming in and how much is going out, creating a budget is as simple as figuring out what things you’re spending money on that are okay and what things aren’t.

One thing that some students do is to figure out how much money they’re okay with spending on things like food, gas, and entertainment on a weekly basis. At the start of each week, you simply head to an ATM and withdraw the amount of money you’ve given yourself for the week. Once it’s gone, you’re out of luck. This forces you to spend it wisely.

Are Credit Cards Right for You?

Another option is to consider a credit card. Building credit at this point in your life can be a really great thing that helps you out in the future when you go to buy a home or a vehicle. The key, as you can probably imagine, is using it wisely. Getting a feel for paying for things with a credit card and then paying off the credit card at the end of the month is a valuable skill to have, and it’s one that we recommend if you’re capable of handling it.

Perhaps the best thing you can do is to get a credit card that offers 0% interest for a period of time that also has a low limit. This gives the flexibility to learn how to use a credit card without racking up interest fees. A low limit also means that you can’t dig yourself into too deep of a hole at any point.

Just to reiterate, a credit card is a great tool if you can handle the responsibility of having one. If you’re on the fence, it’s better to do without.

How Are You Going to Budget?

When it comes down to it, budgeting is a personal thing, and it’s a skill that you can gain just from trying it yourself. You may have to rethink your budget at some point or another when you find that what made sense on paper doesn’t make sense in real life. The best thing you can do is to constantly re-evaluate your budget. Don’t simply spend money until the balance of your checking account is at zero. Instead, come up with a plan of attack and keep learning as you go along.

We’re lucky to live in a time where technology can be a huge asset when it comes to budgeting your money. There are several apps out there that can help you to budget appropriately, and many banks and credit card companies even offer apps that help you to do everything from monitoring your credit score to sending alerts when money is withdrawn from your account.

At the end of the day, budgeting your money is the perfect example of the old saying that practice makes perfect. Will you fail at your budget? Perhaps, but knowing where your money is going is better than being willfully ignorant about it and just hoping for the best.

Make Your Home at Our Student Apartments

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog because we’ll share some of our favorite money-saving tips for students in a future post. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a place to live, our student apartments are the perfect solution. The included amenities mean you don’t have to pay for things like a gym membership or a trip to the pool, because we offer everything from free ample parking to an outdoor heated pool to a barbecue area to access to our fitness center.

At Ram’s Crossing East, Lofts, and Townhomes, we take great pride in offering our tenants the best of the best. We know that life as a student can be a challenge, but we think you’ll love living here. Schedule a tour today or apply now. We look forward to hearing from you!