Sushi is not an emergency.
I think this is the hardest thing to wrap your head around when you’re a college student struggling to make ends meet. You’re told you should have a credit card to establish credit but to only use it for emergencies. The problem is: what constitutes an emergency?
It’s Thursday night and you’re out with friends. After paying all of your bills your checking account is balancing at an even $0.00. But, it’s ladies night and half off sushi. A free glass of champagne at The Vue for girls fits into your budget. That half off sushi has a dollar amount beside it.
Now, you could sip your champagne and tell your friends you’re not hungry while watching them slowly devour their deliciousness wrapped in rice… or you could pull out that emergency credit card and charge that sushi.
But next week you still won’t have that extra cash to pay off your card. High balances on credit cards can lower your credit score, according to transunion.com, and you should aim for under 35 percent of what you have available.
So let’s face it. Budgeting and being responsible with money is difficult, especially when you don’t have very much to begin with. So the question is: how do we make enough money to splurge on half off sushi?
The desperation begins. Pan handling is illegal, and since the government can’t budget either, there is no longer as much money available for extra student loans. The drug market is where the money is, but those possible 10 years in prison might put a damper on your long-term goals.
Now, I have a confession to make. I charged the sushi. But I decided to create a better budget, too. Here are some useful tips:
Tally up all of your monthly expenses.
Next, figure out exactly how much money you make each month and subtract your monthly expenses. Hopefully, you have some left over. If you don’t, you’re living outside your means.
Balance your checkbook and avoid overdrawing your account.
Plan what you’re going to spend every month.
Create long-term financial goals. Set some extra money aside each month for savings instead of spending it on sushi. Considering the stress we students are under, I think it’s important to include a fun category in your budget, too.
Hopefully, with each dollar accounted for, you’ll know whether you can spend that extra money on sushi and won’t have to use your credit card.