From the Editor: Relieving the strain from our bank accounts

Five dollars here and another ten dollars there shouldn’t be a big deal, but when we get into the habit of buying almost everything in the dollar section at Target, the cost starts adding up. Creating a mental weekly budget will not only help our wallets, but also calm our nerves when we take a look at our bank statements.

A common phrase out of a college student’s mouth is, “I’m so broke.” Would we be saying this as much if we learned how to control our desires, thus saving money?

In order to stray away from the “broke college student” stereotype, we need to learn how to manage our money and prioritize what our extra cash goes toward.

According to a survey conducted by Study Breaks Magazine, 70 percent of college students are spending money at bars and on fashion each month, 60 percent are splurging on electronic devices, 59 percent on live music and 57 percent spend money on some sort of media platflorm, such as Spotify or Netflix. Ninety-nine percent of college students dip into their savings to eat each month.

I see myself fitting into at least two of these categories, so I’ve recognized that I need to learn how to say no to myself, as well as others.

Most of us are guilty of never denying a meal outside of the dining hall, but, the thing is, we shell out thousands of dollars for our meal plans. We definitely should not let that money go to waste, even if we aren’t always pleased with the food options Daly’s provides. Now, there is nothing wrong with going to grab a bite to eat with friends occasionally, but we need to set limits for ourselves.

It is extremely important to always be aware of how much money we have in our bank accounts and to know our cash flow. Setting a budget for ourselves starts with the amount of money we begin with. If we have an on-campus job, we may have extra cash to spend. If we choose not to work during the school year, that budget may be stricter. From this, we then prioritize.

A simple scenario of college students prioritizing money would be deciding whether or not to eat out every weekend for two months or saving the money up to go on a fun trip for spring break. Once we start weighing the pros and cons of the two options, it would most likely be more beneficial and worthwhile to set the extra money aside for a vacation with friends.

It is essential to separate our needs from our wants. We need things like textbooks, school supplies and gas for our cars. Anything that is not necessary to live our daily lives — something for pure entertainment — is considered a want. Making a mental note of this when we crave the latest fashion trend or contemplate getting an extra Starbucks latte can unquestionably relieve the strain from our wallets.

As we get older, it is also important for us to start building some sort of credit. There are many credit card options available to benefit students.

There are selections for whatever perks we are looking for. The Discover It for Students credit card is the best cash back credit card, giving students 5 to 20 percent cash back on Discover Deals. Journey is a great credit card for those who aspire to travel frequently, as it waives foreign transaction fees made to the card. The Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card is perfect for college students who choose to spend money on dining and entertainment. Points can be redeemed to get a number of different awards.

Gaining benefits from spending our money is undoubtedly an appealing incentive, but we can’t let these tempting rewards get the best of us.

It is always a good idea to have some sort of cash on us at all times, so we can keep track of the amount of money we are spending. I’m confident that many of us have whipped out our credit cards without a care and have not known how much money we’ve spent until we get the bill in the mail. Having cash to spend can definitely help to control this issue.

We all know that college can be expensive. There’s no doubt about that. Spending money in moderation is a healthy way to control our transactions. We have to be mindful of our wallets, evaluate our needs and wants and do our research to keep our accounts in check.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Published in the 9/27/17 issue.

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