It’s back-to-school time, and whether you’re a college freshman or the parent of a young student, this unofficial end of summer can be a jolt to your finances. New schedules and new financial responsibilities will likely have a great effect on your budget for the rest of the year; in fact, your wallet might already be feeling the effects if you’ve recently ended a summer job, or have already paid for tuition and books.
While a new school year certainly brings a slew of new responsibilities, be sure to take some time to review your finances on a regular basis. To start, look at your calendar and make note of any planned, upcoming expenses like buying a plane ticket to visit your family during the holidays. Then, once a week, sit down and review your spending for the prior week. Note which expenses were regular expenses (groceries and gas) and which were unplanned or one-time only expenses (an additional book for a class or a dinner out with friends).
The purpose of this is two-fold. First, it’s good to get into the habit of tracking where all your money goes: knowing how much money you have at any given time and what you’ve already spent money on will help you make smarter money decisions.
The second reason is have information for a cash flow report. A cash flow report will show you if you need to make adjustments to your spending habits (e.g., if school expenses are putting your cash flow in the red) so that you can ensure you have the money you need when you need it.
Welcome back to the North Park University students, and all students everywhere! We hope you enjoyed your summer break and are excited about a new school year! If you need help with your cash flow report or have back-to-school financial questions, please leave a comment below.