What can I afford?

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Knowing what you can afford can keep you out of trouble. Be aware of how you are spending your money.

Budgeting

The best way to create a budget is to just make one. Gather your most recent paystubs and monthly bills. Use pencil, paper, and a calculator or find a free computer program or spreadsheet that works for you.

Determine your income and the amount that needs to be paid out each month.

At the beginning, sticking to a budget will be rough. Know that it will get better with time and practice. Stay motivated by making and meeting simple goals, like cooking a meal at home instead of eating out.

InformationThink of your finances as a whole. If you spend money in one area, you won’t have it to spend in another.

Expenses

Some expenses have set amounts

  • Rent/Mortgage, utilities
  • Car payment, car insurance, gasoline
  • Health insurance
  • Tuition
  • Childcare

Determine your priorities

You have choices on where and how you spend other money.

  • Monthly mobile/cell telephone bill
  • Clothing
  • Groceries
  • Daily cup of coffee
  • Entertainment

Look for ways to increase your income or trim your budget

  • Get a roommate
  • Get a part-time job
  • Set your thermostat lower
  • Do a Home Energy Check through Progress Energy 
  • Buy a used car instead of a new car
  • Make sure tires are inflated properly
  • Get regularly scheduled maintenance on your car
  • Eat at home instead of a restaurant
  • Make your own lunches
  • Clear out a storage unit and have a yard sale
  • Eliminate or lower cable or cell phone packages
  • Cancel unused memberships
  • Rent books/movies/video games from the library
  • Use a shopping list and coupons. Buy in bulk
  • Avoid impulse purchases

Tips on Saving Money

  • Put a percentage of your paycheck directly into a savings account
  • Have retirement contributions withheld from your paycheck
  • Plan for major purchases before it becomes an emergency
  • Plan for emergencies – they will always happen
  • Keep good financial records
  • Live like a student now, so you don't have to live like a student when you graduate
  • Pay cash – it hurts when it leaves your pocket!

Borrowing money

  • Borrow only if you need to
  • Borrow only the amount you absolutely need
  • Compare rates and fees
  • Know the repayment terms – will you be charged for early repayment?
  • Know what will happen if you are having trouble with repayment
  • Know what will happen if you do not repay

 

faTV – Saving and Borrowing Money

 

faTV – Tips on Saving Money