By Matt Currie, Student Awards Associate
What feelings do you attach to the word ‘budget’? Fear? Anxiety? Intimidation? Or maybe you’re one of those excel spreadsheet gurus that is consistently looking for things in your life to organize. No matter how you currently feel, budgeting does not have to be a scary thing. If done properly, it can actually help you attain your best future.
Making a budget doesn’t automatically mean you need to eliminate all of the fun things you spend money on. Think of it as a plan to ensure you will always have enough money for the things you need and the things that are important to you. Plain and simple. As an added bonus, having a budget can ensure you have the necessary resources to support your education and it can protect you from possible unforeseen emergencies, saving you a lot of undue stress.
I created my first budget as a work assignment when I worked in banking. I opened excel for one of the first times (I avoided all things math after high school) and followed the instructions of the facilitator. After creating it, I put it into practice and immediately felt a weight lift off of me. I no longer was afraid of bills, and that by doing this small thing I was having an impact on my future (paying bills on time and saving money helps you achieve a good credit score, another added bonus of budgeting!).
It also helped me realize that I didn’t have to give up doing the things I loved doing –socializing with friends and shopping are things I value. I just needed to support these priorities by giving up other things, like a car and cable television (no more real time Survivor or Big Brother).
That was ten years ago and I am still using the same excel budget today. I can confidently say that had I not done that budgeting exercise, I would not have been able to pay off my student loan or purchase my very first home.
September is a crazy time for you as a student, especially if you are entering the first year of your program. Start off on the right foot by taking the time to create a budget. Use the exercises found on pages 39-44 of your NSCC Student Handbook and answer the questions at the end of each month in the planning pages. It’s a small investment that will pay you the best interest!