As told by Tam: balancing budgets and to-do lists amidst a busy schedule

Tamra Smalewitz

There has been a lot of talk this past week about school starting up again and how to juggle classes, a budget, time management and life in general. Doesn’t sound easy, does it? I personally feel as if my teachers think I take their class only so they give me loads of homework. Anyone else feel the same way? If you answered “yes,” keep reading for some helpful tips on how to deal with everything going on.

First off, start by taking a deep breath, because stressing about everything you need to get done will not help you achieve anything. It will increase your stress levels and could even lead to health implications, such as trouble sleeping or developing an ulcerThe Washington Post found that “chronic stress makes it more likely you become infected and that infections will last longer and be nastier.” Allowing stress to overwhelm you will only cause harm, so take care of yourself and respect your body’s limits. No matter how much work you have left to do, take a 10-20 minute break between each large task.


Prioritizing is a simple but often overlooked strategy when it comes to managing your time and to-do list. Write a numbered list of everything you need to get done for the week or month, depending on how far ahead of the game you like to be. Make the first thing on your list what you have due first or what you think is most important. After that, keep numbering until you have everything written down in front of you. The simple satisfaction of crossing off each task that you complete can actually do wonders for reducing your stress levels about getting stuff done.  Mind Tools, a site that provides “essential skills for an excellent career,” has a running blog that discusses topics such as time management, problem solving and communication skills. An entry regarding to-do lists said, “To-Do Lists are essential if you’re going to beat work overload …When you use them effectively, you’ll be much better organized, and you’ll be much more reliable. You’ll experience less stress, safe in the knowledge that you haven’t forgotten anything important.”

Living on a budget, isn’t it fun? Before going grocery shopping, find some coupons on items you are likely to buy. Also, figuring out the average amount you spend on food in a week’s time will help give you a basis of what you will be spending every week on necessities, which can help to keep you from coming up short. Contrary to popular belief, Ramen is not a necessity. Lastly, decide if you really need that brand name, because the off-brands tend to taste the same way and tend to be cheaper. This will help you save money that you can spend on other things, like BOGO Tuesdays at Cold Stone with your student ID, going out to eat with friends or a six-pack of beer to cap off a long week. There are a lot of local deals both on campus and in the community. The Ramskellar has pitchers of beer every Monday for one penny, and every Monday from 5-8 p.m. Krazy Karl’s pizza has a deal that whatever time you call to order is the price of your 1 topping large pizza. I like to call at 4:59 so my pizza is only $5.01. 

Life will always throw curve balls – especially during college – so do not stress over every little thing. After all, we are only in the first few weeks of school. However, things will not slow down, they will only speed up. As school progresses, though, we students learn how to deal and adapt to everything going on as long as we are making a conscious effort to do so. It takes time, but eventually you will find your own groove and get the hang of things. Once you find that groove it will be mostly smooth sailing, with some slight bumps along the way.

Stay hydrated with the heat, Rams, you do not want to end up with heat stroke or sun poisoning in the tail-end of summer.

Collegian Columnist Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at, or on Twitter @tamrasmalewitz