If you’re trying to figure out how to better manage your money this semester, you’ve probably turned to Google to find a solution. But with so many answers available online, you may feel overwhelmed about what course of action to take.
Whether you want to start saving for next year’s tuition or just create budget for the next four months, the best answer is to keep it simple. Sticking with a clear, concise plan is much easier, and has a higher probability of success, than setting a complicated goal that requires unrealistic sacrifices and multiple steps to achieve.
Figure out where you stand financially
Any successful plan has to be based in reality Your may want a more expensive place to live in, but it’s important to know how much you can actually devote to rent. Start by laying out income, figure out weekly, monthly and annual expenses, debt, and any existing investments you have.
A financial advisor can help you gain clarity and peace of mind if you’re unsure where to start.
Make a concrete plan and put it on paper
After you’ve determined what you have to work with, make a clear plan and write it down. You can alter discretionary expenses, like entertainment or dinning out, and put that money towards a new laptop or set it aside for reading week, but make sure you can live with those changes (otherwise the plan won’t work).
Putting the plan on paper ensures it won’t be erased or die with your phone, however having a digital and paper copy is even better.
Review your plan
Assess how your plan is progressing every three months or so. If it’s off track, figure out why and revise it. Remember, a temporary setback does not equal failure. Run your revised plan by your financial advisor to make sure it’s better suited to your goals.