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How can I become better at managing money?

I need different ways of managing money. I'm trying to start to save up for college but my money management is TERRIBLE.

Thank you comment icon Complete the FAFSA application ASAP . Check out the Student Checklist @ https://studentaid.gov/resources/prepare-for-college/checklists/12th-grade Marti Derow, MBA, PMP

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Doc’s Answer

Lesly it’s absolutely never too early to start saving. Once you decide you want to go to college, start a savings account and begin contributing. Figure out what you can save each paycheck, how much you need, and then establish a goal. Budgeting and savings apps can help by automatically contributing a set amount every month, or even sending digital “spare change” into savings. Figure out what works best for you and begin now.

MONEY MANAGEMENT SAVING TIPS
FOR COLLEGE

COMMUNITY COLLEGES SAVE NOW
The cost of community college credits is, on average, 60 percent cheaper than at four-year public college credits. This has the potential of bring a huge college savings by earning your their first 60 credits at a two-year public school before transferring to an in-state University

OPEN A 529 SAVING ACCOUNT NOW
A 529 savings plan is used to save for higher education. You want one because these accounts are not subject to income taxes, and when you use the funds to pay for qualified education expenses, the withdrawals are typically tax-free as well. When you open a 529, connect it to your checking account. Then set it up so that the amount you aim to save passes automatically from your bank to your 529 each month.

APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS & GRANTS NOW
Scholarships and grants (aka the kind of funding that doesn't need to be repaid) aren't just for incoming first-year students. Your school and even private scholarship-granting organizations often reserve some of their cash for returning students. These may be need- or merit-based and may require an application, essays, and letters of recommendation. Start exploring scholarships and grants you may be eligible for now.

Hope this is helpful Lesly
Thank you comment icon John, thank you! Lesly
Thank you comment icon Thank You Johanna. We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with others. Doc Frick
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Yogesh’s Answer

7 S For Healthy Finance

1) Self Disciplined - Make Savings habit - “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after savings”.
2) Systematic - Save periodically (Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly), no matter if its small. It’s always better to save periodically rather than planning
to save later and in a lump sum. It will give less burden and also help to maintain the discipline
3) Start Early - Early birds get the worms. Early you start, you reach to your goal early. Power of Compounding helps to generate bigger corpus
4) Save For Emergency - Emergencies like Job loss, no earnings during accidents / illness or illness in family can cause huge financial losses.
Most debts traps happens due to emergencies, which force to liquidate your savings or Sell your assets or even end up
in taking some expensive loans. Its always recommended to have 6 To 8 months of expenses as Emergency fund.
5) Stay Away From Debts - One should always avoid expensive debts like Personal loan or Credit card over dues, these are most expensive loans
and can eat all of your earnings. Such loans can temps one to buy things like expensive gadgets or going for tours.
Such things (expensive gadgets or going for tours) should be planned by saving more rather than taking a loan.
6) Secured from unplanned Events - By having adequate Insurance one can ensure to secure current life style for their loved once . There are
insurance products which can help to take care of unexpected events such as Critical illness, Disability and
many other unplanned events.
7) Save & Spend Wisely - One should control the emotions like greed, being impatient and fear while saving, these can causes huge losses to the
savings. “Do not buy the things which you don’t need, else you have to sell the things which you need”.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Yogesh! Lesly
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Gus’s Answer

Great question - it is an important skill that will not only help you save for college, but it will also be useful in your career. The tip that I suggest is tracking expenses. There are banking apps or other providers that do this for you, or you can do a bit more manual approach in excel. Tracking expenses will allow you to see what you are spending, categorize it (eg. food, entertainment, rent, etc.) to help you make better decisions.

Once you start tracking your expenses, you can then set goals for yourself. Example: I want to save $200 per month. If you know what your spending trends are each month, take action to make room for that saved $200 - skip going out to dinner for a few meals, try taking public transportation, etc. Hopefully these brief steps will help you get on the right track for money management.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Lesly
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Anand’s Answer

I am not sure how old you are and if you are working.

If I were working, I would save as much as possible, look at a "state" or community college and understand where you can qualify and get some scholarships to support your education
- be disciplined about saving .. hope this helps
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Anand. Lesly
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Sakthivelan’s Answer

Spend wisely only for the things that you needed; you have to pause a lifestyle expenses.
each and every day you have to track your expenses by note down in any source which is convenience.
ensure create budget for everyday and do not spend more than that so you can manage and keep your money without worry.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Lesly
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Traci’s Answer

Hi Lesly! Great question!

I've tried using different money apps on my phone, a simple Excel spreadsheet and even physically writing things down but nothing seemed to be a good fit for me. Until I found GnuCash!

For the past decade now I've been using the free accounting software GnuCash. It's really easy to set up and gives you a lot of options to help you budget and keep track of your money.

When you look at the format of GnuCash it might look super outdated, but it's the simplicity that I appreciated. And the fact that it's free! :)

I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Lesly
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Jan’s Answer

start to track your incoming money and what your expenses are i.e. use a spread sheet; look where you can cut and what you can save for bigger goals to come during high school or college; only buy what you need
- written on behalf of a group of volunteers at HPE
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Jan. Lesly
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Sarah’s Answer

I like to remind myself "pay yourself first" when it comes to managing money and creating budgets. This can mean different things to different people, and for myself when I have a goal in mind, I will base it off of the desired end result. For example, if I wished to purchase a car, I would estimate what my car payment and insurance would be, and allocate that as my savings each month for a period of time (let's say 6 months). For me, this is a great method because I am able to gauge how the payment fits into my budget while also saving up for the big purchase.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Lesly
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Sandra’s Answer

Written by a team of volunteers at HPE

Lesly, it is so exciting that you are thinking of going to college and smart that you recognized that money management is an important first step!

First, you need to create a plan -- write it down to make it "real" and easy to track. Document where you are now and how much you need to save, then set aggressive, timebound goals. Check your progress regularly and refine your plan. You'll be able to see the results of your efforts!

You can educate yourself with a free, quick course in personal financial planning (for example - visit: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-personal-financial-planning for a great, no cost option)

Understand where you are spending your money now and where you can be more efficient. Begin by looking at categories that are discretionary/optional (like your "Fun" category); evaluate if those are right-sized (or too much). Next, understand your expected expenses for college (tuition, room/board, books/supplies, social). You may want to consider lots of different options (universities, community college, on-line studying, living away/living at home). What experience do you want? What can you afford?

Investigate and apply for as many scholarships as you can! There are hundreds to consider: academic, based on affiliations, hobbies, family connections

As you begin to track where you are spending your money each month, use a free app like mint.com to track your personal finances and manage your budget wisely.

Check in weekly on how you are doing against your plan. Be especially careful if you are planning a big weekend to not overspend (service fees and overdrafts are wasted money). Watch your money grow and your college plans come together - good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Lesly
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Jazmin’s Answer

Hey Lesly!

Some tips I used to manage my money when I was in school / university were:

1. Document your spending / saving habits over a month or so. Once you figure out what your habits are you'll have a better understanding of what to change and what you're sinking money into.
2. I have separate bank accounts for my long-term savings and my everyday living funds. Keeping things separate meant that I can always check how much my savings had grown. I only have a card for my everyday account, so it also makes it tricker for me to access the long-term savings. (Tip: when you set up a long-term savings account I recommend you shop around at different banks and get a good interest rate. Some banks offer bonuses if you don't take money out of your account!).
3. Set up an automatic transfer of funds to your long-term savings account. I'd forget to do this when I did it manually so having it automatic works well for me.
4. Side hustles or part-time jobs. They might not pay a lot, but even something is better than nothing! You can't save unless you have income.

Hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Lesly
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Daniel’s Answer

Lesly,

The very first thing I would do is make yourself a monthly budget. There are many good apps/online tools you can find online. Many online tools can help you categorize certain expenses and they usually have graphics that can help you visualize your progress. You can also do it the old fashioned way on Excel.

After you set up a budget the next best thing you can do is sleep on it and really ask yourself if you need the item. I would encourage you to really think through what you will use the item for and for how long. Also, think about the big items in life you need to save for such as a house, possibly kids, retirement, etc. You are never to young to start saving for these big ticket purchases in life.

The last thing I would do is don't compare yourself to others. One of the most dangerous things is comparing yourself to people and thinking if they can have it so should I. Don't fall for that trap of "keeping up with the joneses" because comparing yourself to people and their things is not a good idea. It will only lead to misery and feeling like you are failure.

Hope some of the above provides insight.
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Keizo’s Answer

Hey Lesly,

Everyone is different but alot of the same variables seem to be introduced through life in categories such as wants, needs, and should. One of the best things I think you can do is to begin organizing all of your spending in a way thats easy for you to understand. Sometimes, people allow for a bad habit to take place which is to not keep track of spending, and even transactions in general. I would keep note of all your financial obligations and literally write it out so you develop a sense of financial literacy. Ask around, see how many people in your personal or professional life have advice, see what is out there at libraries or book stores to learn about financial plans, long term and short term and see how it can ultimately benefit you and your life. Keeping spending in categories or beginning to think in percentages might help as well! For example, keeping necessities to 50% of spending might help alot, this might include rent, food, and transportation. Ultimately, see what works best for you in order to achieve your goals.
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Peter’s Answer

Start saving for retirement early, with time on your side. Budget is key., Live within your mean To increase money either spend less or save more. Record your expenses and compare to your income: divide into categories, meals, necessary, health insurance or medical needs, luxury, needs and wants. Educate yourself on different investments. Don't forget to pay yourself, you have earned it. Automatic savings deposit, Search for budgeting method 50/20/30. Compound interest can work for you with savings and against you with debt. Look at multiple banks for the best interest rates or bonuses, and incentives.

Written on behalf of a group of volunteers at HPE.
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Harshitha’s Answer

Use cash as much as possible and track expenses. What cannot be measured cannot be managed.
Use public library and used books - read good books on personal finance and follow the advice(Psychology of money, Rich dad Poor dad etc.,)
Save first spend later
Use public transport
Look for better use of time, value of time >>> value of money
Cut down on needless expenses - explore minimalism, less is more - less clothes, less bags, less shoes, less social media time => less choices to make = more time for self improvement

Harshitha recommends the following next steps:

Set limits for each category of spend - use an app if needed
Track if limits are breached - reward yourself if you expenses are within limit, review expenses where limits are breached, make the limits realistic
Have a target to save small amount every month - look for ways to make money, content creation, part time jobs that help in skill building
Start investing in yourself
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Atul’s Answer

It is very simple.
Define need vs want.
Avoid want until you have a balance to pay for the tuition.
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