UCCS and self-funded departments are grappling with budget changes and increasing costs, which are inevitably affecting students. It is becoming more and more important for young people to address their financial situations during their college career. Therefore, budgeting can be a helpful way to fill the gap between wages and expenses.
The rise in tuition, activity and parking fees, as well as the complete elimination of the golf team at UCCS, are a few examples of how administration is addressing the discrepancies in the university’s budget. Students and faculty bear the brunt of these new fees. Budgeting on an individual level can help to lessen the impact of the new fees and costs when attending UCCS and living in Colorado Springs.
Understand your Limits:
First, do not underestimate the money you have to make every month. Food, rent, transportation costs and tuition, hopefully in that order, will always come first. These have to be paid no matter what. Factor in your monthly income, with these costs upfront to make sure you’re on track to pay the essential costs of living. It may sound obvious to address essential costs, but they can become secondary when entertainment and non-essential costs get in the way.
Entertainment and Non-Essential Costs:
Essential costs must be paid no matter what, but once you’ve made sure to address those expenses, you could set aside some for savings and/or entertainment/social costs at the beginning of each month.
I am a big saver and I always have been. Entertainment and things I want, rather than need, have always been secondary. But that doesn’t mean they’re non-essential. Entertainment expenses are very important for your mental and physical health. I factor exercise and leisure activities into entertainment costs.
Setting aside time and money for yourself is vital. However, be sure to budget a specific amount of time each month for entertainment and leisure. If you don’t, you could go over budget or dip into your savings to go see an impromptu movie at the end of the month! Stay organized, people.
Perhaps during your budgeted trip to an antique store to buy a desk and you notice some miniature novelty clocks that will look great on your new desk. You need the desk to do your studies or your job, but the out-of-commission mini novelty clocks are not going to help you in any way. The clocks are a waste of money, no matter how cute they may be.
Tips to Save Money on the Essentials:
One of the best ways to save on essential costs is to meal plan within your smaller food budget. Make a grocery list, plan your meals, and plan to eat out on certain days. Secondly, take advantage of gas deals at local supermarkets like Costco and King Soopers. Grab one of King Soopers’ value cards or Costco’s member cards and save on groceries and gas.
For entertainment costs, lots of businesses like restaurants and movie theaters have specialty days/months or student ID discounts for their services. Try to see a movie on a Tuesday at essentially any movie theater and pay 5-6 dollars for a movie ticket! Or show Chick-fil-a your student ID and get a free drink with your order.
Budgeting templates are on sites like Canva. Photo by Lillian Davis.