The Baby Steps to Achieve your Financial Freedom

Volare | January 2021 Newsletter

“Budgeting only has one rule: Do not go over budget” – Leslie Tayne

8 Practical Budgeting Tips

What do you think about budgeting? Are you comfortable, good at it, or fear it? If you want to improve your budgeting skills, check out our practical tips below.

A survey conducted in 2020 by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) showed that 53% of U.S. adults don’t have a daily budget that tracks their income and expenses.

The term budgeting falls alongside other terms like dieting and exercising, where it makes us come face-to-face with the things we want to change about ourselves. It could also reveal things about your financial situation that you don’t want to accept yet. 

However, budgeting doesn’t have to be scary. Knowing your current finances will help decrease future uncertainties and help you adapt your budget to unexpected events.

1. Having a miscellaneous expense in your budget

This is a small emergency fund for any unexpected purchases or bills during the month. If there weren’t any bumps, then you can have another night out, more savings/investments, or add to the miscellaneous expense for next month.

2. Having a record-tracking system

Personal finance apps, such as Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), and EveryDollar, can track your expenses, so you can be aware of your spending habits over time.

If apps aren’t your taste, use the classic pen and paper! Writing it down can help retain information faster and process how each expense plays into your budget.

3. Let’s budget together

If your budget involves other people, consider a weekly or monthly meeting to talk about where the money has been going, and what can be adjusted. If this is for you, consider sharing your goals with a friend or family member, where they can hold you accountable and be someone you confide in about any financial concerns.

4. Don’t be afraid of trimming down costs

There can be times when you have to cut certain expenses to make ends meet, such as cable, subscriptions, and consider cheaper alternatives to daily essentials.

Know that budget cuts are temporary, just so you can step back and determine how to turn your finances around. 

5. Putting aside funds for your favorite things

A misconception about budgeting is it restricts you from buying what you want. While it does take some self-control, if buying a sweater or cup of coffee every day is something you can’t live without, add it to your budget. 

Similarly, if you are paying off debt or saving for a trip, those need to be present somewhere in your budget. 

6. Take budgeting to the next level

If you have been meeting your budget goals, you can start thinking about paying off your debts early, creating another emergency fund, investing in new assets, etc. How can you reach that financial freedom earlier?

7. Start from the minimum

If you have an irregular monthly income, it can be harder knowing how much to set aside for each expense. Try identifying the lowest amount you will bring in and calculate your expenses from there.

8. A budgeting mindset

If budgeting still feels like a task, try it as a game! Level up your financial mastery each time your budget goals are met. Unlock your favorite items faster through consistent saving. Complete a different side quest each month, such as having 5 no-spend days or choosing to eat in every Monday.

Everyone has their style of budgeting. Changing your mindset around it to bring in your personality or interests can make it a more enjoyable experience. 

Budgeting can take a few months to grow accustomed to. You shouldn’t knock yourself down if you are still making adjustments towards your ideal budget. What habits or tips have helped you be in better control of your finances?

Pre-completion OPT

Are you thinking about applying for pre-completion OPT this year? If so, here are some questions to help get you started:

  1. Have you completed, or will complete, one full academic year by the start date of pre-completion OPT?
  2. Have you notified your International Student Services about applying for pre-completion OPT?
  3. Do you have less than a year of full-time CPT experience?
  4. Are you aware of the different types of OPT employment?
  5. Is your employment directly related to your field of study?

Scholarships

Responsify “Empowering Others” Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Due October 5th annually
  • Eligibility: All applicants must be enrolled, or due to be enrolled, as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a US college or university for the semester they are applying to receive the scholarship. Domestic, international, online and undocumented students may apply.
  • Topic: Write a 800-1000 word essay answering the three following prompts.
  • More details: https://www.responsify.com/scholarship/ 

Crossword Hobbyist Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000 and a lifetime subscription to Crossword Hobbyist
  • Due April 30, 2021
  • Eligibility: Open to all current or incoming undergraduate students who will be enrolled for the fall 2021 semester or quarter. International students enrolled in an American or Canadian university may apply.
  • Topic: Create a 15 by 15 crossword based on your hobbies and interests. Puzzles should have a maximum of 78 words.
  • More details: https://blog.crosswordhobbyist.com/crossword-hobbyist-crossword-scholarship/ 

Mattress Advisor’s Sleep Science Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Due March 20th, annually
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled, or due to be enrolled, as a full-time student at an accredited US college or university for the semester that they are applying to receive the scholarship. Domestic, international, online and undocumented students are welcome to apply.
  • Topic: Write a 800-1000 word essay exploring your personal relationship with sleep and the impact it has had on your education.
  • More details: https://www.mattressadvisor.com/sleep-scholarships/ 

Coupon Birds “Help to Save” Scholarship

  • Amount:  $1,200 for first place, $800 for second place, $500 for third place
  • Due April 17, 2021 and October 10, 2021
  • Eligibility: Open to high school and college students of all nationalities. Must be enrolled at an accredited university or college in the United States or Canada. 
  • Topic: Upload a 2-3 minute video (no longer than 5 minutes) about how to save money with CouponBirds.
  • More details: https://www.couponbirds.com/scholarship 

Custom Creatives Digital Marketing Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000 for two winners
  • Due May 31st annually
  • Eligibility: Students (U.S. residents or permanent residents only) currently attending a college or junior college, who will still be enrolled by the December 1st notification date.
  • Topic: Writing a 400-500 word essay on one of the following three topics.
  • More details: https://customcreatives.com/scholarship/ 

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