Financial anxiety

A plant shoot sprouting from a pile of coins.

What a familiar feeling!

You know that feeling when you log into your bank app and realise that your balance is way less than the amount you had in mind? The shock you get is so great you could fall on your knees at the counter. Yeah, it’s a terrifying experience and as a university student who is trying to be better with her money, I’m embarrassed to admit that this occurrence is nothing new to me.

Still, I get the shock of my life every time it happens.

Worrying about your money (or money, in general) is such a human thing to go through. How could we not be worried, right? We need it to survive - to put food in our mouths, clothes on our bodies, and a roof over our heads amongst other things. And while some of us are fortunate enough to receive scholarships or to be financially supported by our families throughout our studies, that doesn’t mean one should take it for granted. Most of us in said situation learn to budget and save the money we receive because well, we don’t have the liberty of swiping other people’s cards without a care in the world. Also, I don’t think it’s a very nice feeling to constantly ask for more than what you’re already being given, especially if it’s due to your bad spending habits. 

Learning to properly budget my allowance is a skill that I’m still trying to perfect. First, I set a certain budget for specific areas I need to spend money on like groceries, rent, transportation, etc. and I write them down in my notebook. That way I can physically see how much I am able to spend on each of those things every month. I like certainty. It helps clear my mind and prevent me from breaking down due to any potential overspending. 

Then, I make sure to keep track of my spending and balances daily – or at least, after every time I make a purchase because y’all know I’m not a wealthy heiress who has her father wiring money into her account whenever she pleases (tell me you get that Inventing Anna reference) to be spending every day. After coming home from doing my groceries or having lunch with my friends, I immediately update the balances I have for each budget. Again, it’s just practical to know how much money I have left to spend. I know then whether I would have to cook dinner tonight or maybe have the chance to grab some sushi at my favourite joint.

When it comes to my own hard-earned money, I do allow myself to have some fun and treat myself occasionally. Of course, I acknowledge that I come from a privileged standpoint as I have a job that allows me to buy myself something nice once in a blue moon. Nevertheless, it’s still important to save some of my earnings for the unexpected rainy day. I wouldn’t want to be in a state of panic when that rainy day eventually arrives (though I hope it never will!)

Being good with money takes a lot of learning (and often, mistakes) to know how to spend and save well. Everyone has their own way of keeping track of their dollars and this is just some of the ways I do with mine. What’s your favourite financial tip?

Tagged in What messes with your head, money, finance