The Charger Blog

Charger Blogger Breaks Down Her Approach to Budgeting

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 explores the importance of budgeting – something she’s found to be critical when it comes to managing not only her money, but also her time and, even, her health.

November 3, 2023

By Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Beatrice Glaviano ’26
Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Money, money, money – must be funny.

Man, I love ABBA.

How’s our week going? By the time you’re reading this, fall break has ended and everyone is back on campus to complete the rest of the semester. Exciting, right? Oddly enough, it was also around this time (last year) that I began searching for a job as a first-year student. While I don’t personally recommend getting a job your first year or semester, there are definitely some plus sides that come along with it – aside from the money.

With that, welcome to blog #15: Budgeting for the Average College Student.

Firstly, what even is budgeting? In the simplest of terms, budgeting is dividing your resources up. These set amounts can be directed towards a goal, such as buying a car or stocking your savings, or placed into a category, such as necessities or wants. Also, please note I’m not a financial adviser or anything – if you have legitimate concerns regarding your finances, I strongly suggest reaching out to your bank or even the Financial Aid Office here on campus for any serious queries. Anyhow, when it comes to getting paid, getting a job is typically a good first step, but what do you do with that first paycheck?

If you ask my dad, you cash it in and frame it. If you’re asking me though, you start gaining knowledge about how to handle your hard-earned cash before framing it.

One of the first things I learned when it came to budgeting was the 50/30/20 split. It’s relatively common I believe, but considering that I only found out about it last year, perhaps not as common as I originally thought. To break it down, with every paycheck you deposit 50 percent into savings and delegate the remaining 30 percent and 20 percent into needs and wants. At least, that’s what I do. Typically, the 50 percent goes into necessities, 30 percent into wants, and 20 percent into savings, but I find that having a solid savings account is better than a jam-packed checking (though if both are achievable, go for it). Of course, you can customize these values to these lifestyles, but sticking to this has honestly made all the difference in my financial health.

Credit and Debit

With this, you can develop an emergency fund: a collection of money that you’ve saved over time in case something unexpected occurs in your life, such as a car crash or medical emergency. Additionally, I’d strongly suggest setting up a secondary savings account –AKA a credit card account – so that you will be able to build credit over the course of your college career.

But what’s credit?

Credit is essentially money you owe to your bank. Paying with a credit card isn’t exactly paying in a sense, but a delay of that payment until the end of the month or so. It’s because of this that many are weary of credit cards, as credit card debt is very real and quite scary. However, the plus side of credit is that you gain responsibility and trust with your bank. The higher your credit score, the better a chance you have at securing loans or even asking for more time to pay off a previous debt as you’ve done so on time in the past.

Using a debit card, on the other hand, requires you to pay that amount upfront. Obviously, this tends to be easier for people to keep track of as it’s an immediate deduction, but it’s also annoying because of that immediateness. Either way, managing debit cards or credit cards is an important skill, especially if you’re using both of those at the same time (of which I don’t advise unless you’re very good with your money).

In summary, budgeting is about dividing up your resources in a way that gets you the most bang for your buck. In a lot of ways, it helps you plan for the future and stay in the present. Yet, where else does budgeting apply?

'The biggest thing a job in undergrad will teach you’

Seeing that we live in a modern era, I’d say that we budget our time between academics and social lives, right? What about our mental and physical energy? I think I’d count those too. Many jobs that don’t require a significant amount of formal education tend to be service positions within the retail or restaurant industries. Construction or other trades could be added, but there is definitely a higher level of training involved in that versus how to bus a table. All of these could serve as a direct example of how we budget ourselves in everyday life.

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 and her friend Serenity
Beatrice Glaviano ’26 and her friend Serenity

The biggest thing a job in undergrad will teach you is responsibility and independence, especially with your schoolwork. If you’re a full-time student, balancing your academic and work life is difficult, especially when it comes to time management, task prioritization, and general efficiency. Throwing a job into the mix will add to your stress, but it will also lay a basic financial groundwork during your college career – a time in your life when you may not yet have any “real” expenses, beyond your education.

With that, you’ll also be more aware of your scholastic deadlines. As someone with one heck of a course load and school obligations, I’ve found that I am more aware of my academics and more efficient than I was before. Additionally, you’ll be forced to brush up on your resume- and cover-letter-writing skills. The utilization of these will vary depending on the type of job, but you will need to review how to interview successfully if your resume attracts the attention of an employer.

On that note, don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile. Anything that aligns with your professional goals should be added to your LinkedIn, no matter how big or small. Trust me. If you’re curious or have further questions, we do have the Career Development Center on campus to help you with these things. There’s also a campus closet from which you may be able to score some professional attire for an interview, if you need it.

Budgeting with PIE

Before I go too much into professionalism, it’s important to note that budgeting properly keeps you financially available in the present and future, and being able to manage your academic, social, and emotional “accounts” will also enable you to do the same. Going off the advice of one of the best people in my life, there’s something called PIE: a fractional breakdown of one’s physical, intellectual, and emotional health. PIE also happens to be shaped like a PIE chart, so that’s also helpful. So, how do you manage it?

Well, you make sure that not too many slices are taken out. If you are lacking physically, make up for it in intellect or emotion. If lacking intellectually, try learning something new. And if you have extra PIE, it’s okay to share some of it, but be aware of how much of your PIE you’re giving out. Giving too much to a certain person, situation, class, job, etc. can lead you into burnout, and that’s no bueno, man.

Being able to recognize when you need to bake some more PIE for yourself is a life lesson you can only learn through doing. So, set those boundaries and protect your peace. The main takeaway from PIE is that if you do the same thing over and over again in your life with no variation, you will not grow as an individual, and PIE is a great way to find where improvements can be made (even if they’re small!).

In summary, we don’t just budget money; we manage the many different aspects of ourselves in most – if not all – parts of our lives whether we are students, professors, or just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Given that we are in November and that finals season will be on the way, I encourage students to analyze their work patterns at this point in the school year. What works for you? What doesn’t work? What definitely doesn’t work? And, what makes you feel the best, healthiest version of yourself as a student here?

Troubleshooting these things can really aid in determining one’s patterns of success throughout their academic, professional, and personal lives and also help you when you’re not doing the best either physically, mentally, or emotionally. I hope you all are having a great week, and that you enjoyed today’s article.

Thank you all so much, and see you in the next one.
With peace, love, and plenty of peanut butter,

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 is a nutrition sciences major at the University of New Haven.