Your spending habits
Spending habits begin early, typically by imitating how people around you—family and friends—handle their own finances. Recall the important people in your life. How did your parents handle their money? Do you think you were influenced, for better or worse, by their example?
Divide a sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch paper into two columns and list your money habits by two categories: Good and Bad. Examine your list carefully. Give yourself a pat on the back for your good habits. What works for you? Put that in the good column. What gets you into trouble? Put that in the bad column. Your list of good habits might include never borrowing from friends or your ability to set aside money to build up an emergency stash. Then, consider what conditions create the bad habits. How often do the bad habits get you into trouble? What could you do to change? Write out a plan that will help you stop repeating the bad habits.
For example, do you overspend when you feel down? You're not alone; 49.5 percent of people (according to a survey from Myvesta.org) who have financial problems can be classified as depressed. Depression spending is a very real and common occurrence. You have two options to keep this habit from hurting yourself financially: save up so that you have the extra money to use or discover an activity/hobby that will bring you enjoyment when you begin to feel let down or depressed.
You can also make a conscious decision not spend the money. You may find that you enjoy browsing through stores to "window shop" without actually buying anything. You might also look for a social club at the University that has a one-time fee, usually quite reasonable, and meets several times per week. In both of these ways, you can "show up" within a social setting or group that will provide the stimulation, pleasure, or relaxation you need, without overextending your resources.
Be sure to give yourself several options, in case one of your strategies fails. Not all plans work out, so be flexible and ready to try another approach. Be creative when coming up with your plan. Many options are often available for getting what you want without spending money. Is it possible that you have time for a part-time job that would expose you to a hobby you enjoy? For example, while scuba diving is expensive, you might consider a savings plan to pay for training as a dive instructor so that you could eventually afford the sport by becoming a paid instructor. Think that's a daydream? Hardly. That's how you will develop good habits and discard the ones that hold you back: one small step at at a time.