Creating and Using a Budget

Creating and using a budget is a valuable tool for all members of the Wake Forest community.  Budgets are not just for those who need to closely monitor their cash because money is tight.  Take this simple 5 question quiz to test your budgeting IQ.

 Thrive Money Jars

What is your budgeting IQ?

  • What is the first step you need to take to create a budget?
  1. Track your spending
  2. Contact your bank
  3. Set money aside for going out
  • What budget-killer can pose the greatest threat to your wallet?
  1. Gourmet coffee drinks
  2. Borrowing money to pay for college
  3. Spending without a plan
  • What’s a smart way to save money on food?
  1. Eat less
  2. Choose high calorie, less-expensive options, like pizza, fast food, candy, etc.
  3. Pack your own snacks rather than buying them from vending machines
  • How is a need most different from a want?
  1. Cost
  2. Importance
  3. Priority
  • What’s an essential first step to creating a spending plan?
  1. Make adjustments
  2. Identify income
  3. Pay major bills fills


  1. A: Figuring out where all your money goes is the first step in creating a budget. You do this by tracking every dollar you spend for one month.
  2. C: As the saying goes, it’s not how much money you have, but how—and how much—you spend.
  3. C: Why pay $5-6 for a latte and muffin when you can bring your own coffee and snack for a fraction of the cost? Stock up on items at the supermarket and pack your own before hitting campus. And while you’re at it, try substituting healthier alternatives—such as peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, and juice—for empty-calorie options.
  4. C: The biggest difference between wants and needs is the priority you give them in your budget. Food and shelter are essential to living, and the cost of paying for them takes priority over anything that’s nice to have but isn’t essential.
  5. B: The first step to creating a successful spending plan is having an accurate sense of your available income. Then you can identify your expenses and compare the two.


Creating a budget to break down and understand your spending habits can be very satisfying.  By laying all expenses ‘on the table,’ you can remove a large weight off your mind and shoulders.  Wake Forest utilizes CashCourse—a free, online financial education resource designed specifically for college and university students.  CashCourse equips students with information that helps make informed financial decisions, from orientation to graduation and life after college.  All members of the Wake Forest community—students, faculty, and staff—can create an account at and gain access to articles with financial tips, budget wizards with customizable templates, financial calculators, featured videos on money management, and an ‘ask the experts’ section.  Take advantage of this free, self-paced online resource today!