Chat with the Chief: Take a close look at your checkbook

There’s almost nothing worse than opening the door of an empty refrigerator with a grumbling stomach, being forced to walk everywhere because you’re out of gas money and coming up short on rent at the end of the month.

Assuming you’re unwilling to sell an organ and too prideful to beg for a bailout from a rich relative, budgeting your expenses is imperative.

It’s simple arithmetic, really. Everyone has a set amount of savings and money coming in, and everybody wants things. The sum of your savings and income should be higher than the cost of those wants

If you want food, it may be in your best interest to skip the midnight release of that new superhero movie when your bank account is running low. If you want to go out on the weekend, first make sure you’ll still have money to pay the gas bill that’s due on Tuesday. And if you want textbooks, may God help you.

For many, college is the first time we experience financial independence to any degree. Sure, we may have never heard of a money order or still be struggling to comprehend the difference between a credit and debit card, but this is the time to figure those things out.

Like a fledgling bird we plunge from the nest and are swept up in the wind. Whether we’re able to fly or we crash and burn relies heavily on our ability to make mature decisions when it comes to money

Unfortunately, this test flight is rather high risk. It’s possible to fall behind on bills and hurt your credit score, all while piling up a hefty amount debt through student loans to pay for tuition. If students aren’t careful, they can find themselves in dire straits financially upon graduation.

Debt collectors don’t care that your car’s transmission is shot and that you didn’t snag your dream job immediately after school. Once your payment-free, six month grace period wraps up, you have to pay up, and that’s a lot easier to do if you managed your money responsibly throughout college.