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Smart budgeting with RED helps to keep students in the black

By Paige Wolf
On April 12, 2019

Budgets can be helpful and set people ahead for their future if they are honest and attentive with their spending. 

Costs of housing, tuition, groceries, cars and more can add up quickly and be overwhelming. Some months might seem like scraping the bottom of the barrel. 

While budgeting might not solve all money issues, it can help put things into perspective.  

Todd Saville, personal finance instructor at Kirkwood Community College, said he uses the acronym RED (responsible, educated and disciplined) when teaching students how to budget. 

Individuals need to be RED when creating a budget in order to make the best decisions involving money, according to Saville. 

A budget is a list of income and expenses through a certain time period. Budgets can be made for a month or a week, it could be a written list, mental note or visual chart. Making a budget does not have to be a dreadful ordeal, simply write down personal monthly income.

 If it varies, base the budget off the lowest possible income, then anything left over from one month could be set aside for another. 

Next, add up monthly expenses; rent, utilities, insurance and do not forget to include little indulgences. Coffee three times a week counts as an expense.  

Brandy Netty, math instructor at Kirkwood, suggested evaluating spending on a “nice to have vs. need to have” basis.  

She also said using coupon apps and deals can save money and buying groceries can be cheaper than eating out. 

“Even if you drink coffee or soda, you can save a lot of money by watching the grocery store ads and will pay a fraction of what it costs to purchase the same quantity from a convenience store or a pop machine,” said Netty. 

Saville also suggested that everyone follow the $20 rule, which requires anyone considering to spend $20 or more on something, consider that purchase from 20 seconds to 20 minutes.  

“They should be asking themselves; Do I really need this? Do I need it right now? Do I have another item that will suffice for this?” said Saville.  

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