Whether you are bright eyed just out of high school, returning to college to find a new purpose or everywhere in-between, this can help you get on the right path to financial success. Budgeting is where you need to start. Planning out your expenses and tracking your finances does not have to be overwhelming if you take the right steps to take charge of your financial health.  

I had the privilege to speak with David Riemer (shown above with his partner), Financial Specialist and Exchange Traded Options Market Dealer to get some insight on how to get started on the right path. David started out like you and me counting pennies for ramen and living in cheap apartments while going through college. He has successfully managed and taken control of his financial success. He has traveled all over the world and is currently living in Australia with his fiancé. 

If you are just starting out in the budgeting game David suggests doing basic research to get tips to suit your situation, also find out what “luxury expenses” you have and cut or reduce them, for example daily coffee shop trips and eating out. The second tip for beginners is to “pay yourself first,” meaning pay off debts or put money into long term assets that grow over time like an interest earning savings or certificate of deposit account. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/certificateofdeposit.asp 

He suggested that to understand what you are currently spending and where you need to allocate your money to put it all down in Excel. There are also easy to use programs and apps that can help you do this. That will allow you to factor in any kind of money you are taking in from sources that help you pay your tuition and know where you can cut unnecessary spending as he addressed as luxury expenses. In short be able to “measure and improve” your budget. 

Organizing your income and expenses into categories and setting finite amounts for each one will help to create a solid picture of what you want and need to spend your money on. This enables you to be in solid control of your finances instead of worrying about spending the last $5 in your account on gas or dinner.  

David goes on to discuss the frequency a student should be going through their budget to maintain it properly, being a weekly practice to stay on top of your budget health. If you have a “lower income become more scrupulous” with your maintenance and check your progress daily until you are well versed in taking care of your budget. He recommends not trying to factor in big payments on student loans as they are more “forgiving in their payment options and tend to run low on interest at 5-6%.” If you already have credit cards pay them first, as much as you can to avoid large interest fees, if you cannot use it and pay it off within a week cut them up and stay away! 

Davids final advisement to get ahead is if you find yourself having the liquidity to do so invest in S&P 500 exchange transfer funds (EFTs) with a share trading account to grow what you have and prepare for the future.https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/etf.asp 

As a bonus he suggests “lowering your costs by cutting out breakfast it can also aid in a ketosis effect.” While I was unable to find solid health information on this, I suppose it is food for thought.  

There are a many programs out there that are accessible to you, visit student services on campus to find out which ones can help you!