Get Your Finances in Shape for Summer

With summer around the corner, it’s a great time to get your finances in order before you hit the beach. Not only will you be ready to roll for the fall, but you can spend your time and energy enjoying your time off rather than worrying about bills and making ends meet.

Step 1: Review Spending Habits

Begin by reviewing your spending habits over the last semester. How much did you spend dining out instead of at home, for example? What “surprise” expenses did you encounter, such as needing a new tire, replacing your broken cell phone or that Netflix bill you always forget about? It’s pretty eye-opening to see how fast these costs add up, especially if you haven’t been following a budget.

Step 2: Create a Budget

Creating a budget may sound intimidating, but it’s actually easy to use your past spending habits to develop a spending plan for the next school year. Click here for a sample budget worksheet.

Identify Expenses

First, list all of your expected expenses for each month, such as:

Tuition and fees School supplies Clothing
Groceries Entertainment/dining out Car insurance
Gas Room charges or rent Travel
Internet charges Books Savings
Personal expenses Cell phone Other

Identify Income Sources

Next, identify all your sources of income, including expected summer earnings, financial aid, support from your parents or from your own savings, and school-year earnings if you are working or planning to work. If your expected expenses exceed your income, reexamine your spending plan to see where you can cut costs or find ways to increase your income.

Keeping your finances in good order takes time, and time is always in short supply. Make life a little easier by automating your deposits and bill payments. You can start by having your paycheck directly deposited to your bank account. You also can automate most of your regular bills, such as utilities, cell phone, internet/cable and rent.

Step 3: Automate Bill Payments

Automating your payments will help you pay your bills on time, which is important for establishing good credit. Remember, you are responsible for paying all your bills even if you don’t receive a bill in the mail, so having recurring payments already set up is an easy fix for forgetfulness or mail mishaps. When you first set up automated bill payments, it’s a good idea to track your payments and/or set alerts that let you know that your payment has been received. It’s also important to continue to review your spending habits; automation is not a substitute for budgeting and paying attention to where your money is going every month.

Higher One $tart with Change: Get Your Finances in Shape for Summer

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Showing 2 comments
  • Nazariy

    Good job to who ever made this site. Good strong points, a little too though, people would like it if you give like a life example from a person’s daily life on what they spend money on, and it would be nice if the person would give like a little feedback or a story on how this Start with a change plan helped him OR her. Other than that It’s a good site.

  • Tera Thomas

    I am so glad I ran across this website. I have known for sometime now that I needed to manage my money way better. I am going to try the budget planner and anything else I can find to help me with getting things straightened out with my money. With the resources made available to me on here I shouldn’t have any problem…well except for my cash flow issues