Received mail offer?   |   Log In

What does financial responsibility mean to you? – Reilly, Key Thinkers Scholarship Winner

Posted by MoneyKey on January 25, 2018
Students using their laptops and tablets to write something

MoneyKey’s Key Thinkers Scholarship is designed to reward post-secondary students for their academic achievements. We asked “What does financial responsibility mean to you and what steps should students take to plan their budget?” and received hundreds of submissions. Below is the winning essay from the Fall 2017 Scholarship recipient Reilly:

To many college students, the idea of financial responsibility is an intimidating one. Most of us have never handled a large amount of money in our lives, and have relied on parents or relatives to make big financial decisions. Suddenly, we hop off to college, where we’re confronted by decisions about student loans, tuition costs, the price of living, and more. On top of worrying about our GPAs and futures, the issue of money can drive one crazy! Luckily, being financially responsible can be easily attained through the right attitude and preparation.

In my experience, financial responsibility has always come with a set of rules. The first of these is, “Never spend what you don’t have.” In other words, know how much disposable income you have to work with, and stick to it. I know, I know—_that Michael Kors handbag or those Air Jordan’s are incredibly tempting. I must admit, I do have my eye on a pair of Nike Free Run sneakers at the moment. However, I know that if I were to spend money on those shoes, I would be cutting into my grocery budget, and if there’s one thing I value more than a good pair of running shoes, it’s food. I don’t need the guilt that would come with buying the things I can live without, so I’ll continue to save and hope that those shoes will still be there on a rainy day. In return, I’ll be comforted by the fact that I know I have money for my necessities.

Financial responsibility also means having an organized plan for how you’ll be saving and spending money. This often means creating a budget, which can be daunting for many inexperienced college students. But fear not! It can be easy AND fun! Budgets are customizable, so if you decide you don’t like something about it, it’s very easy to change it. A good place to start is the basic 50/30/20 rule: spend 50% of your budget on necessities, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings and debt repayment. From here, you can decide what sort of plan and percentage works best for you. Using this technique, you’ll soon have a budgeting system that is almost second nature to you. Learning how to budget just became a whole lot easier!

The hardest part about becoming financially responsible is taking the first few steps to get started. As I stated above, it can be daunting, even overwhelming, to think about keeping track of all of your finances. Rule number three is one of my favourites: don’t overthink it! Always use what works for you—” this can be online banking, handwritten budget charts, even apps that help you track your spending habits. In a world full of ever-developing technology, there is no reason that we shouldn’t take advantage of it to improve our financial standing.

When I first began budgeting, I was a hot mess. I couldn’t figure out what percentages of my paycheck I wanted to save, how to avoid shopping temptations, and what format that I enjoyed using to keep track of financial fluctuations. My final piece of advice on budgeting is to never give up. It’s never too late to become financially responsible, and though it may seem like it’s difficult or confusing at first, every time you convince yourself to keep going helps you tremendously in the long run. Now, go forth, and budget, budget, budget!

Reilly - Recipient of Key Thinkers Scholarship for Fall 2017

Reilly is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. She is pursuing a double major in Vocal Performance and Earth & Environmental Science and plans to use the scholarship to support these academic endeavors.


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Financial Tips

We’ve helped over 400,000+ customers.Let us help you!

Not all applications are approved; duration of approval process may vary. Credit limits/loan amounts are subject to further verification criteria. If you are a returning customer, loan amounts may vary.

*If approved, any requested funds may typically be deposited into your bank account the same business day; timing of funding may vary by product and state. The date and time funds are made available to you by your bank are subject to your bank's policies. For specific funding cut-off times, click here.

**You may request a draw from your Line of Credit at any time, so long as you have available credit and your account is in good standing. In the State of South Carolina, you can withdraw the total credit available to you all at once, or in smaller amounts over time as you need it, with a required minimum draw of $610.

As you move through your credit journey, your account may become eligible for reduced charges and/or increased credit limits/loan amounts based on good payment history over time. You will receive notices, as applicable, regarding your individual circumstances and eligibility.

Depending on your state of residence, applications submitted on this website may be originated by one of several lenders, including: CC Flow, a division of Capital Community Bank (CCBank), a Utah Chartered bank, located in Provo, Utah, Member FDIC. The CC Flow Line of Credit is provided by CC Flow. Additionally, CC Flow maintains critical control over loan origination, underwriting approvals, and regulatory and compliance oversight management. MoneyKey is an authorized servicer of CC Flow. This means the CC Flow Line of Credit is available through MoneyKey and you will maintain your CC Flow Line of Credit account through MoneyKey.

Product availability varies by state. To see loan products offered in your state of residence, please visit our Rates and Terms page.

MoneyKey – TX, Inc. is licensed as a Credit Access Business (CAB), License No. 16641-62815, by the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner and registered as a Credit Services Organization (CSO), Registration No. 20110150, by the State of Texas. All loans for which MoneyKey acts as a CSO/CAB are funded by an unaffiliated third-party lender and serviced by MoneyKey. In the State of California, MoneyKey – CA, Inc. is licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation pursuant to California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law License No.1004516.

Reviews and any ratings referenced are based on Trustpilot reviews. Images are for illustrative purposes only. Reviews reflect individuals’ opinions and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with MoneyKey.