Milly C. – Oxford Academy

Technology, Saving the Day

In today’s world, saving money is harder than ever. As a young person, we live in digitally-connected worlds full of endless distractions and impulse purchases that can range from wardrobe upgrades to app feature updates. However, there is always a way to make use of our resources, allowing digitized distractions to actually benefit us and allow us to grow. The simplest and most effective solution is simply to track, record, and budget on a daily basis.

With the technology of our smartphones and devices, recording expenses is easily the most convenient way to be financially aware. Taking 10 minutes at the end of each day to wind down and think back on all the purchases you made throughout the day can benefit one’s financial status exponentially in the long run. For example, while I studied out-of-state for five weeks during the summer, I was given a debit card with a limited sum of money on it. To most accurately measure the amount of money I was spending, I asked for receipts for every purchase I made and documented my purchases on the notes app on my phone at the end of the day. In the app store, it is also easy to find free and helpful apps like PocketGuard and Wallet that help students track their splurges and remind young people to stick to the necessities. I realized during that time that relying on my debit card app to measure my expenses was not as effective as I would have hoped, since transactions could take hours to officially log into my account and appear, and putting restaurant bills on my card once led to overcharges that I was only aware of when I kept the receipt and recorded the dollar amount in my notes.

By my third week of budgeting, I realized that I had a better handle on my expenses and most importantly, my conscious decisions. Looking over my notes, I was able to gauge the number of times I could “eat-out” for the next two weeks and number of larger purchases I could afford, on things like clothes and craft projects. I had a better sense of which areas of my life I needed to spend money on and which areas I needed to save money for. By the end of the five weeks, I didn’t once have to call my parents to reload my card–rather, I send money to my sister through Quickpay because she needed it on short notice!

Looking back on the five weeks, I realized how difficult it can be to truly understand the weight and value of money. I don’t work, so all of the money I spent was from my parents–and that’s what makes money seem like less than it’s actually worth. Though I sometimes find myself spending mindlessly when my parents give me a stipend, I check up on my notes to spend with a budget in mind. I go about life seeking coupons and sales at all times as well; I rarely buy clothes or makeup products that aren’t on sale. I am keenly aware of how easily social media can convince you to shell out real money for virtual advantages, so it’s important to constantly make that distinction between the real and digital world. However, necessities like food and toiletries almost never go on sale, so saving up for those types of items in the case of an emergency are always worth it. To me, understanding the worth of money and constantly working to keep track of one’s money is the key to a satisfying, rewarding life.