Budgeting proves to be key to savings

Dominique Bercy a senior English student from Port St. Lucie, Fla. loves to shop. Her items of choice include Forever 21 accessories to Relay for Life and FAMU paraphernalia. Whatever she buys Bercy operates under the motto of being “a walking resume’.”

“As a future professional, I believe a first impression is a lasting one and the first thing people look at is how you present yourself,” Bercy said.

However maintaining that fashionable aura has left her wallet ravenous.

“I felt like I had just gotten money, yet I was constantly asking myself ‘Why is there a dash in front of my balance?” the 23-year-old laughed. “My biggest mistake has been splurging versus shopping on a budget and looking for sale prices.”

Bercy is one of many students who find themselves wondering where their money went.

Demetrius Pettaway, a financial specialist for a Wachovia said that feeling would be obsolete if students would use discipline when spending.

“Putting a budget in writing can show you how you’re actually spending your money and what you do to help control where it goes.”

“I am coaching myself to buy everything on sale, and I ask myself if it’s something I really need,” Bercy said. “I also receive emails from different companies alerting me of any sales or special offers they may have.”

Pettaway says that things like a cappuccino or new pair of sneakers are not out of bounds as long as entertainment and shopping expenses factor into your monthly budget.

“Don’t forget to include savings into the budget,” said Pettaway. “Students should remember to treat savings as a priority just like utility bills instead of saving what’s left over. In fact, the earlier students start saving, the earlier the money can start working for them.”

Jillian Jones, 22, a senior accounting student from Salisbury, N.C. said she find it hard to budget when temptation abounds.

“It’s hard to think about saving when you are imagining how cute those pair of boots in Macy’s would go with your jeans. So we charge it and say, I will pay for it later”.

According to Deep Underground Credit Knowledge 9, the average college student has a balance of $1050 on their credit cards.

“So many students see credit cards as a convenience, but don’t think about the high interest rates, fees or long-term costs of them,” said Harvey Smith, a member of GrassRoots Investment Group. “They get students into patterns of impulse buying, which can lead to real financial difficulty,” said Smith.

When using credit cards, students should factor in the cost of borrowing the money.

For example, when charging $1000 for your fall semester expenses to a credit card with 12 percent interest and only pay the minimum payments of $15, it will actually end up creating twice the original price at $2100.

Bercy is excited about the changes she has made already and hopeful about her financial future.

“Everyday is a struggle, but I feel like I am a step closer to reaching my financial goals – and looking fabulous at the same time.”

“Everyday is a struggle, but I feel like I am a step closer to reaching my financial goals – and looking fabulous at the same time.”