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BLACK BEAR Budgeting

Do you have enough money to go to school?  How can you determine if your resources and financial aid are sufficient?  Developing a budget can help.  A budget identifies your strengths, provides insight to your expenses and keeps you on track for meeting your financial goals.

Think BLACK BEARS when looking at your expenses and building a budget!

Be creative!
There are many different ways you can cut your expenses.  The key is to be creative! There are ways to save around every corner.  Do you return your empty soda cans? Have you considered carpooling to save on gas?  Did you know having one or more roommates can cut expenses as well?

Let go of unnecessary attachments or habits!
Money spent every day is easy to overlook.  Did you know that a $2.50 cappuccino that you buy daily from Starbucks adds up to around $900 a year?  How about that $1.50 muffin you buy every morning?  That’s another $600. Think about what you buy out of habit and what you can do to cut them down – like brewing your coffee at home or eating a bowl of cereal in the morning before you head out for the day.

Act like a college student!
They don’t say Ramen Noodles are a college student’s main food group for nothing!  Cutting out extravagant dinners out or passing on that super-sized cable package can help to reduce your expenses.  Save on expensive car payments and car repairs by taking the BAT bus — it’s FREE with a MaineCard! Having computer issues? Instead of buying a brand new laptop, take advantage of the library’s computers or the Memorial Union’s computer lab — a FREE resource for UMaine students.

Cut the credit cards!
Think about what expenses you are covering with your credit card.  Responsible use of credit cards can benefit your overall credit history, but making poor decisions and continuously paying only the minimum payment can cost you big bucks in the end.

Keep Track!
The best way to understand your expenses is to write them down.  Educational expenses, books and supplies, transportation, medical expenses, childcare expenses and other monthly bills are all items that should be included in your individual budget.  Use the budgeting resources below to take inventory of your priorities, necessities and the maybe not so necessary expenses.

Buy Less!
Think twice before every purchase you make! Do you have a large book bill looming?  Check out the UMaine Bookstore’s website for more information about comparing book prices. Libraries are a free resource - check to see if any of your textbooks are available to borrow!  Finding students in your classes to share books with is a great way to save, and make new friends!

Earn Money!
A paycheck is a good way to help cover your expenses.  While at school, there are many work opportunities for both students who have Federal Work-Study and those who don’t.  The Office of Student Employment’s website offers a tool to help you search for on-campus and off-campus jobs. You can also contact the Office of Student Employment for further help with finding a job.

Ask for help!
Need help crunching your numbers? Does the thought of making a budget seem too overwhelming? We are here to help! We want to make sure you are making informed decisions when it comes to borrowing loans.

Realize the Benefits!
College is your opportunity to grow, learn, experience and prepare for your future.  The greatest gift you can give your future self is to make smart decisions now.  So before you click that accept button, think about your future self!

Start Today!
It’s never too early or late to start budgeting and tracking your expenses!

CashCourse is an online resource to help you understand budgeting basics and the importance of understanding your finances! Click below to start now!