Being financially responsible is a challenge that Xavier Putman, sophomore pre-nursing major at California Baptist University, has mastered.
“First of all, the Bible commands us as Christians to be responsible with our money,” Putman said. “If we’re not careful, we, along with our families, could suffer the consequences of debt. God commands us not to be slaves to debt.”
Putman said he tries not to spend his money on unnecessary things and that school-related expenses come first.
One of his focuses when budgeting is to be wise about food costs.
Putnam said he calculates how many CBU meal swipes he will need to use per week in order to use them all by the end of the semester.
“I know quite a few people who have had 50 or more swipes left at the semester’s end, and that’s just wasteful,” Putnam said. “You should try to get your money’s worth.”
For commuters, Putnam suggests cooking at home.
“With the $10 or so that you’d spend at El Monte for one meal, you could buy 24 eggs instead,” Putnam said. “Even with the increased price of eggs lately, this is still a better deal.”
Being in a relationship can end up being another large expense. Putnam said he tries to find creative ways to show his affection for his girlfriend without spending too much money.
“There are other ways to show that person that you care,” Putnam said. “You can play sports together, go hiking, running or even walking and enjoy the outdoors. Quality time is much more important.”
Putnam said he also tries to avoid unnecessary expenses and only focus on needs.
“If my shoes are ripped and torn, then I’ll buy new shoes,” Putnam said. “But I won’t try to perpetually expand my shoe collection.”
To keep track of his spending, Putnam said he uses a spiral notebook to log purchases, deposits, tithes and other important expenses that come up. Knowing where money is being spent and finding a balance can be frustrating, but he says it is also rewarding.
Even for someone who is financially stable, budgeting should be a priority to start building savings.
College is one of the biggest expenses people will invest in throughout life and making a budget is crucial to establishing a secure financial future.
“You may be OK on finances right now, but this is a good time to save for the future,” Putman said. “It’s OK to have fun once in a while, but college is about responsibility. It’s just important to be cautious and think through your monetary decisions.”