Mental math won’t do, learn how to budget

Zach Jones

Another spring break has passed on the Hill. If you traveled, you are probably paying much closer attention to your available balance in your checking account than you were before spring break. It’s also possible your balance was just too low to begin with, which kept you from going anywhere in the first place.

After spring break, many students realize they need to learn how to better manage their money. If this is your situation, fear not. I, too, was in your shoes during my first three years of college.

I took a trip every spring break without a set budget and spent more than I should have each time. Essentially, my budgeting process consisted of looking at my account balance and doing some minor mental math before making purchases. Big surprise! That mental math is wrong most of the time.

I realized this, and resolved to learn how to manage my money this year. When I left for my spring break destination this year,  I was already confident that when I got home everything had been budgeted for,  and I was not going to be eating ramen noodles for the next week. How did this happen for me? I took advantage of the free resources provided to the campus community by the WKU Center for Financial Success.

I learned how to budget and, coming full circle, I am a now financial counselor for the Center. Trust us, we get it. Budgeting in college is difficult. You have to deal with inconsistent income, somehow project expenses that change on a monthly basis, figure out how much we really need in loans and make sure we do not spend residual scholarships too quick.

On the other hand, budgeting can be difficult in college because most of your costs are covered, but you want to begin to create good financial habits. At the Center, we work with students like you, who are fully capable of managing your money, but just need help with a starting point.

If you want to get to a place where you are not concerned about how you are going to pay your monthly bills, where you are not lacking clarity on your student loans, or want to learn how to build your credit score – we can help. To connect with us, visit our website at or stop by our office in Grise Hall 320.