1. Set a goal

If you don’t know how to start managing your finance, set a goal. How much do you want to save every month? What number do you expect to see in your bank account upon graduation?

Good financial management requires self-discipline and it takes time to build, especially if you are new to managing your finance, as most college students are. Setting goal is a useful way by giving you a sense of orientation. Even something as small as setting an event in your calendar can go a long way to improve your self-discipline. You will feel more secure and motivated if there is a concrete number that you are striving towards.

Do you want to own your first car in a few years from now? Do you want to save for your graduation trip or your first rented apartment? What can best motivate you? Think about it.

2. Create a budget

Once you have figured out your long-term saving goal, you can transform them into a detailed plan. Make your goal happen by creating a budget, whether it is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, purely at your preference. Beginners may find it easier to start with a weekly budget. You can get some basic understanding of your routine expenditures over a short time horizon first and then extend further. Your budget should clearly list out your periodic income and expenses. Categorize your expenses and give them an allowance. Don’t be horrified by the numbers and tables. Believe me, you can nail it. Your training in mathematics over the past decade has given you more than enough for this simple task, isn’t it?

3. Find a part-time job

How much allowance do you have each month? Do your parents provide financial support to you or are you self-financing?

If you want to be financially independent soon, you can consider a part-time job. The key difference between college and secondary school is flexibility. Now, you can personalize your timetable and you have a much shorter class hours compared to the past. Self-studying can be tough at the beginning. But this is when you start practicing your time management skills. Allocate some time for studying and you get the remaining.

There are plenty of work opportunities readily available in the job market. Private tutoring and jobs at the service industry are obvious choices. For more career-oriented posts, you may want to look for part-time internship offers advertised through your university or job search platform.  

4. Prioritize your expenses

Nowadays, goods are packaged to represent certain lifestyle. We often relate quality of life with one’s ability to consume. This may be true to a certain extent but be careful, there can be no end in satisfying material needs. Especially with the convenience in payment brought by credit cards and mobile payment platforms, we tend to purchase impulsively. Therefore, it’s important for you to extract your needs from wants, distinguish between necessities and the others. As long as you have this idea in mind, an alternative to pay by credit cards for all your expenses can only be beneficial. You’ll naturally pause for a while when you reckon that you may not be spending your money wisely. A few seconds can make a huge difference given that we make recurring purchasing decisions every single day.

5. Track your expenses

Tracking your expenses regularly is a key step to your finance evaluation. As with budget setting, you may want to start with a weekly evaluation first. After grasping a basic idea of it, you’ll feel more comfortable in handling monthly totals.
Compare your budget with your actual expenditures, reflect on the reasons why they are not in sync, adjust your budget where appropriate...... Personal financial management app such as gini largely simplified these steps. With gini, you can view all your bank and credit card transactions in one-go. It automatically categorizes expenses for you so you don’t have to do them manually. It’s time to utilize these innovative tools to manage your finances more efficiently.

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