The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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Learning to Budget for the Real World

As the semester comes to and end and December graduation is just around the corner, many seniors worry about finding a job, moving and entering the real world. After taking several trips to New York City, I have decided to move there after graduation. Since making this decision, I have come to realize the importance of managing my budget.

I visited several times this past year and while on my trips I learned a lot about what it takes to live in the city and how much more responsibility I will have once I move. One of the biggest differences I realized was that New York City is very expensive. Compared to Dallas, rent is extremely pricey; meals can cost an arm and a leg, plus transportation and any other purchases all add up.

Bennett Byrd, an SMU graduate and investment banking analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, says he spends “$1,200 more rent each month in New York.” This semester I decided I would need to learn how to manage my own money in order to prepare for my move.

Maddie Juenger, an SMU graduate and natural gas scheduler at Caiman Energy LLC. in Dallas, was deciding between moving to the city or staying in Dallas after she graduated in 2006. “I decided to stay in Dallas because there is a good job market for recent graduates and there is affordable rent, entertainment and transportation,” says Juenger.

 

My last visit in September I spent more than $100 a day on food, taxis and going out. In my wallet I have three cards: one unlimited credit card for emergencies, one debit card with $400 deposited each month and a credit card with a $500 limit. Because I was not on a strict budget, emergencies started to be a new pair of shoes or an expensive dinner. When my parents received my credit card statement after my trip in September they were not happy.

I sat down with my dad and we decided that we would need to work out the credit card situation and I would have to be put on a strict budget this fall in order to learn how to spend my money wisely. I wrote down how much money I typically spend each month and what I spend it on. We then evaluated my spending and from there we decided my allowance.

My parents continue to pay for items like my cell phone bill, auto insurance, clothes, incidentals, rent and utilities. I personally spend about $200 on gas, $250 on groceries and $500 on entertainment each month. We discovered that my parents spend up to $36,000 a year on me (not including tuition). When I graduate from college I will also begin to pay taxes, so my first job’s income would have to be about $50,000, which may not be attainable. Therefore I would need to seriously get used to saving some of my earnings and as well as spending wisely.

We decided that each month I would have one debit card with an $800 limit and a credit card without a limit strictly for emergencies only. My parents would check my credit card statement each month to be sure I was staying on track.

Since the conversation with my parents two months ago, I have learned the value of a dollar and how to spend smartly. Although it may not be fun or easy, budgeting your finances is worthwhile and beneficial in the long run.

 

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