Budgeting & Money Management

Budgeting/Spending Plan

What is budgeting?  Budgeting is creating a plan to spend money based on your income and expenses. When it comes to budgeting, one size does not fit all. Budgeting helps you identify where your money is going before spending it. Some will budget for the week, the month or longer. The important thing is that you begin budgeting and you work to improve this skill. There will be times that you may not be perfect with your budgeting but that doesn’t mean you should give up.  It’s ok to make a mistake but just remember, start again. Budgeting allows you to see if or where you are overspending and allows you to adjust. It also allows you to save.  Budgeting is the way to organize your money and your life.

Why is budgeting important? Budgeting is important because it allows you to track your hard-earned money. It allows you to both save and to spend with confidence. Budgeting allows you to make a conscience decision on how you are spending your money and it provides you the peace of mind you need to prepare for emergencies and unplanned events.

How do I start budgeting?  First, you should know that budgeting is a personal experience. One size does not fit all. Budgeting is basically reviewing what money you have coming in, and what money you are spending.  

Start with your sources of income. You will want to review your net income, or the amount left after taxes have been taken out. Perhaps, you have funding from relatives or you are earning funds by engaging in a side hustle. Regardless, account for all of your financial sources so you have an accurate picture of your incoming funds. Remember to include your work-study funds and/or stu

There is no right or wrong way to budget, as long as you are doing it. First, look at your fixed expenses such as housing, food, groceries, phone, internet and other needed expenses. Don’t forget to pay yourself by putting something in your savings account. Remember, it’s always good to include entertainment in your budget too.

Remember to include your work-study income and/or your student loan refunds if you use these sources to pay for your expenses.  

Where can I find tools to help me start budgeting? Budgeting is a personal experience, and so are the tools you could use. Excel sheets, apps provided by your financial institution, or a simple worksheet could be used. Check out a few electronic options below. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us if you need help getting started.

GradReady: Create a GradReady account using your Pitt email and access this online budgeting tool.

Mint.com: Available via apps for both iOS and Android devices, Mint.com provides a free (advertising-supported) solution to help you with your budget.

Excel Sheets: You can search for a template in excel or create or your own.

You Need a Budget (YNAB): YNAB offers college students a free 12-month subscription to get students started on good budgeting habits.

Your Financial Institution: Many banks and credit unions now offer budgeting software in their apps. Check with your financial institution.

Articles & Resources:

The 6 Best Budgeting Apps of 2022 (investopedia.com)

How to Choose the Right Budget System - NerdWallet