The Art of Budgeting: Post-College Lessons

vGCUSBy Shannon Bentley – Hey readers, the time has come! I will begin my service with City Year starting next week on August 10th. I am excited to work with individuals who has the same drive and passion to care for MPS’s students who need the extra help to succeed academically and socioemotionally.

Besides my eagerness to get started, I found myself looking over my bills for the next couple of months. I’ve noticed that I had to make some changes to my budget in order to live a comfortable lifestyle with the stipend provided by City Year.

I created my budget based on the bills that I already have and will need to pay every month. Sadly, I realized that I had very expensive taste; therefore, I altered my budget to fit my basic needs. I calculated my rent along with the electricity bill, the phone bill, and gas for my car. I had a cable bill that was $50, so I called Time Warner Cable to downgrade my service which dropped my bill to $35. When I calculated all of those bills together, my total expenses for the month was $730. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to save much money and have spending money at the same time so, I decided to keep the rest of my money and place it in to a savings account for emergencies.

In my previous post, I wrote about everyone asking me why I wouldn’t want to get a teaching position right away and earn $41,000 a year. Even though I am not earning anything close to $41,000, I am earning something more valuable than the money: I am gaining valuable lessons to use in my future that will help me save more money than I am spending.

The first thought that runs through a recent college grad’s mind who just got a job is that they can get a car, they can get an apartment, and they can get a credit card. College graduates think about materials the minute they leave college. Even though I have an apartment and I have a decent car, I am teaching myself to be more frugal and save my dollar rather than spend it.

Getting a job after graduation is nice, but if you don’t know how to budget your money, then your cozy lifestyle will be hard to maintain. We have to consider paying back our loans and our pension/401K’s, which are extremely important for retirement. We have to be able to teach ourselves self-discipline, refrain from making unnecessary purchases, and cook more than going out to eat.

It’s okay to spoil ourselves every once in a while, but too much can take you away from what’s really important. I am teaching myself how to be more responsible with money and save for my future after years of teaching. You should take time to write out an actual budget and your life will also be less hectic with bills every month.

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