Gal’s Guide

Managing money

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Gal’s Guide

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We are four college-aged women who all don specs on our faces while working long hours at The Spectator. For now we are journalism students, but we have plans of conquering the world. However, before we do we have a few things to learn.

Jessie Tremmel
Op/Ed Editor

People always say credit cards are dangerous.

I opened my first credit card the summer after my freshman year just because I was going to study abroad and wanted a backup in case something happened with my debit card. The $300 cash that I took to Turkey with me lasted my whole trip and I never had to worry about swiping either of my cards.

I pay my credit card bill immediately and have never missed a payment. I don’t even know what would happen if I were to miss a payment. That scary credit card has actually turned into a lifesaver when making large purchases.

While that little card in my pocket has become my sidekick, banks are still foreign to me. There is so much about my accounts that I just don’t understand. How do credit card reward systems work? Why am I only earning 12 cents in interest? What is interest even based on?

Even though I do not understand how banking works, I am able to manage my money. I work two jobs and a certain chunk of my paychecks gets stuffed into my savings account.

While saving now may mean I have to limit my spending, I know the extra money I would have spent on a random Monday shopping trip will be important in the near future, when car payments, renters insurance and a cell phone plan require me to dip into my savings.

Courtney Kueppers
Managing Editor

Here’s the thing: I like clothes, but I am forever discontent with the contents of my closet. I like really delicious food, but I am remarkably incapable of cooking. I prefer printed magazine to online articles.

Bottom line: I am horrible with my money. In the last three years I have been reluctant to ever spend money on a tank of gas instead of a dress on Target’s clearance rack, a stack of magazines and a Chipotle burrito. However, somehow I have survived thus far. I have used the pennies I collect from my three minimum wage jobs, all of which I adore, and everything has worked out just fine.

I’m at the age where the real world is looming. It’s not quite knocking at the front door but it is certainly making its way up the walk.

However, not today. So here’s what I think: spend your money on what you want. We are young and we have plenty of time to worry about bills, so for now don’t say no to a dinner with pals, buy a magazine if you please, and put a little bit of each paycheck aside for a someday plane ticket to see the world.

Kristina Bornholtz
News Editor

I had my first pre-graduation freak out recently. I realized that this time next year, I will hopefully be a salaried staff member of some publication, with hopefully a lot more money to manage than my meager student salary.

Hopefully, anyway. At the moment, I am managing just a few things. Thankfully, my parents are willing to help me with my major expenses, like groceries and utilities. But soon I will be entering the real world, complicated by massive rent checks, credit card bills, co-worker happy hours and – gasp – health insurance. These days are coming and I can’t stop them.

However, I can prepare for them. I try to manage my money as much as I possibly can, setting out a monthly budget for things like how many nights out I can feasibly afford per month.

I manage these small things in a secure app connected to my bank account, which tracks my check card purchases to keep me accountable. The app doesn’t lie.

While this is all small change compared to the budgeting I will have to do when I’m a “real” adult, I think the practice has been good for me. When the time comes, my app will help me manage all the money juggling that comes with life. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to balance it without technology.

Anna Mateffy
Photo Editor

Over the course of my college career, I learned quite a few lessons about money. As a freshman with a bank account filled with graduation money, I learned the glory of getting coffee with my friends multiple times a week. I found the glory of shopping online and the satisfaction of wearing a new pair of shoes that I purchased simply because I could.

Eventually, my bank account drained and I realized I had no clue how to handle my bank accounts.

Over the next few years, I was determined to learn how to deal with money. At first I was afraid I’d screw it up, so I just didn’t buy anything: no meals out, no coffee dates, no new anything. I was going to teach myself how to save. Turns out, having money is good, but I was afraid to spend anything, so that strategy wasn’t the best.

After a pep talk from my parents, I learned how to budget. Now, I know that I can buy nice coffee and an outfit or two because I know when I can afford it. But I also know to buy things in moderation to allow for fun weekends and spontaneous road trips. Money no longer rules my life, it simply fuels my adventures.

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