Day 9: My First Budgeting Experiences

Me and my parents at my college graduation :)

I created my first budget in college. I was taking classes, working part time, and managing the food plan my parents paid for me. It was a pretty simple budget — basically just making sure I spent less than I made and ensuring the money would last for the remainder of the semester before I started a summer job.

I graduated from college May 10, 2008 and was offered a job in DC to start on June 1st. What seemed like a competitive entry level position turned out to be rather puny in light of the expenses required when you move to one of the most expensive cities in America. I spent all of my savings on moving, new work clothes, a few Craigslist items, and the gas it took to get to DC (remember the summer of 2008? It was over $4 per gallon!).

Needless to say, I started my “big girl world” broke.Β The only way I would survive would be to create a budget and be serious about sticking to it. It was the only way I could start my big girl life on the right foot.

So that’s what I did.

My first real budget was rough. I got paid once a month (which only added to the stress of keeping a good budget), and planned out as best I could to spend it wisely. But as I mentioned in my post yesterday, there is always a trial period to figure out what budget item is too much, which was too low, and which needed some flexibility from month to month. My bills and rent were so high that it was really hard to stay under control with the other areas. Food, clothes, eating out and entertainment were the hardest to manage, especially when you are new to a city and need to make friends. But after a while, it started to work and somehow I was even able to pay off my student loans by the following spring.

It was really hard keeping a budget, but it’s probably what saved me when I first entered the real world.

So that’s my first budgeting experience. Do you remember your first budgeting experience? Did you keep one in college or not until you entered the real world?Β 

This is day 9 of a 31-day series on Financial Freedom. Click here to see all of the posts. Thanks for reading!