Karina L. – Oxford Academy

NuVision Credit Union Scholarship Essay

The first and most important thing a student can do is budget! Many students or people may say the key to saving is to spend less, however, I believe the key to saving is budgeting. It is important to save your money, but it is extremely challenging to save your money if you are not budgeting!

Budgeting is very important because if you do not budget, you can easily overspend or lose track of your money. Mismanaging your money or not managing your money at all will always turn out poorly. When a student doesn’t budget or track their money, many things can happen. First, students can spend too much money, on clothes or food, very easily. If students aren’t keeping track of their money, they won’t be aware of how much they have. This very easily happens when a student has a credit or debit card tied to their bank account. There are infinite possibilities in terms of what can happen to your money if you mismanage it. The important thing to focus on is telling your money where to go before you spend it.

When a student tells their money where to go, or budgets, it is drastically easier to save. When budgeting, you can set aside the specific amount of money you want or need to save to reach your goals. With budgeting you can also allot certain amounts of money to spend on certain things, such as clothes and food. Fortunately, most students don’t have to worry about paying for utilities or paying rent since their legal guardian takes care of that. Therefore, this gives students more options and freedom with their money.

One very important thing that students need to remember about budgeting is that you need to budget before you spend your money. Budgeting after you have already started to spend your money is pointless. For example, if a student received a twenty dollar allowance for the week and spends $15 on a new shirt and $3 on a soda, the student only has two dollars remaining from that initial twenty dollars. If the student decides to put that two dollars into their savings, that is good, but they could be better. A better way to do it would be for the student to budget before receiving or before spending their allowance. The student could save ten dollars, then spend the other ten on food or a different item. Ten dollars in much more efficient that two.

Most young kids and students are intimidated by budgeting because the perception is that budgeting means big spreadsheets with a lot of time consuming work. However, budgeting can be much simpler than that, especially for students. For young kids or students who don’t have a bank account, glass cups or jars (i.e. mason jars) are a simple solution. Students can use two or three jars labeled with “savings”, “spending”, and “give away/charity/donations”. These three jars determine exactly where a student’s money should go. When the student makes or receives cash, they place their change into these three jars, placing an emphasis on savings. For older students with bank accounts or even jobs, a piece of paper is a simple tool for budgeting.

When the student receives an allowance or paycheck they write that dollar amount down on the top of a sheet of paper and use a table with a series of columns to divide up where their money should go between savings, spending, and donations/charity. Both of these methods of budgeting are extremely simple and take five, maybe ten minutes to complete.
Budgeting allows students to do what they want and spend what they wish, while still being frugal and saving their money.

Continuing on, there are a large number of ways students can work to stay debt free. The first way or tip to staying debt free is to only buy what you can afford. This especially pertains to buying cars or houses. For students, buying a car can be tricky. Used cars are a great way to get a good value. When it comes to school or college, students can work hard to obtain scholarships to fund their education. There are many scholarships offered all around the country. If a student works hard to obtain good grades, the student can receive a merit scholarship from their college. Other scholarships can come from independent companies who offer money to students for writing an essay, having good grades, or participating in some kind of activity.

With money, the opportunities are limitless. The most important things to remember are to tell your money where to go (budgeting) and to not spend more than you can afford. If students live by these two rules, saving money and staying debt free will be much more possible!