Save money now, or you may pay for it later

Liz Stephens, Columnist

During my senior year of high school, my teachers drilled information from Dave Ramsey’s financial courses into our heads the best that they could. My friends and I all hated this consumer sciences class, because we thought Dave Ramsey was silly and didn’t really realize the actual importance of saving money and staying out of debt as much as possible.

Now that I am a student and my student loan debt is gradually getting bigger with the small amounts I have to take out each semester, debt is something to give considerable thought to.

The main piece of information that I took from Dave Ramsey was to have a “$500 emergency fund.” This proved to be more than useful because my dog just had to have a $600 surgery last week, and if I had not had money put back I would be in a pickle. This mini-lesson inspired me to see how large I can get my savings account within a year.

Realistically, as a college student with minimal bills that lives at home, I do not need more than about $250 in my checking account at a time when all I spend money on is gas, food, and CrossFit. I have decided that anything over that $250 I transfer over to savings every payday. When I want to do things such as get my hair done, I make sure to budget that into my $250 I allot myself every two weeks.

I’m not sure how I got into learning how to budget properly, save money and be careful when spending, but it may be a trait that I inherited from my family.

It is important for college students to set money aside and save now while they don’t have as many bills as they will when they graduate from school. When I say saving money, I don’t mean having a large checking account balance. I’ve learned that if I allow myself to have a large checking account balance I see that money as something allowable to spend—when it is not.

Having money set aside will provide peace of mind for students because of financial expenses that can pop up during college. Having a savings will ensure that students aren’t spending their entire checking account balance at Marty’s in one weekend with nothing set aside for savings.

Being able to properly set money aside for larger expenses is another important concept I have learned how to do well within the last couple years. The benefit of setting money aside for larger expenses is that people won’t be tempted to put the cost on a credit card and pay interest. When someone backed into my Mustang, I set aside money every payday or waitressing shift until I had the $900 saved to fix the paint on it.

Being smart with money is something learned and can also be taught. Adulthood and survival relies on money and having the funds to buy houses, buy cars and pay for bills. Students should take advantage of college and learn how to become smart with money now so that they are somewhat prepared for what is to come when they graduate.

Liz Stephens is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].