As a financial advisor, I would recommend you create a budget. You can examine the Internet for basic or complex budgets. I'd recommend starting simple and going more complex as you become more comfortable with budgeting. As you probably know, you want your income to exceed your expenses. That is easier said than done, I understand. I'll spell out the steps I would follow next:
- Create a budget. Be honest and don't skip any expenses. You must be truthful with yourself at this stage, so you can have more discipline going forward.
- Examine all of your expenses. Is there anything you can easily cut out? What would be more difficult but worth cutting back on or reduce the use of? Please be honest with yourself at every step.
- Is there a way, such as Etsy, Craiglist, or eBay, you can increase your income? This is your chance to think outside the box.
- If you do not already invest, please look at starting to invest some money, even $50/month or less, toward your future. This money is a way to pay your future self and make your future great, whatever you want it to be! Yes, investing will mean you must cut something you love out of your current budget, but it is an investment in your future, just like going to college is an investment in your future and yourself. Make sure you plan for fun adventures in your budget. Do NOT plan only for the present or the future. You must have some fun now, but be careful how you spend the money. Make sure you spend the money where you will receive the greatest "opportunity cost." (Please review this term on Investopedia.com. It is a valuable term, which will reshape how you look at all interactions in your life.)
- Talk to trusted people in your life as to how they budget. The more you have frank, open, honest discussions, the better you can help each other stick to your budget and learn from each other.
Chris recommends the following next steps:
Thank you for your question! I'd recommend that you create a budget and evaluate your income (any earnings you receive from a job, or other earnings) and expenses (any living expenses or school expenses). You can then determine how much money you should be saving. There are YouTube videos and websites which have tips and tricks for managing your money as well.
I manage my money by carefully considering each item I purchase and whether or not it is truly needed. If you do that, you'll definitely save money over time!
Create a realistic budget based on your income and required expenses, such as rent, food, utilities. Include amounts for going out with friends, clothing, and extras.
Do your best to save money for emergencies, even a little bit at a time helps.
Be very careful about going into debt. Credit cards and loans for cars and education and very easy to get, but can get out of control quickly. Having to pay for money you borrowed while also trying to pay your current expenses can leave you without any extra room in your budget for necessary expenses.
Most importantly - ask for help when you need to.
Jennifer recommends the following next steps: