Create a College Budget That Works

By Olivia Narvaez

Going away to college marks the beginning of a young person’s freedom, but it also means much greater financial responsibility and organizational skills are needed to stay on target. Before even going to college, you have to consider the essentials for living, what you can spend on what you want, and save on what you don’t really need. Many parents still financially support their college bound children and they need to sit down and talk with their child about the budgeting they need to do.

Paying for a college education is no walk in the park. It often means considering all the extra costs that go into living on a college campus. If you set up a budget ahead of time, then you can actually see what you can and cannot do with your money.

First you look at your income, whether it is from a school job, your parents, financial aid, scholarships, and any student loans. Then you must consider the necessities of living on your own, which include rent, utilities, food and groceries, transportation, insurance, personal care items (such as medicine, shampoo, soap, etc.), and entertainment. All these things add up even though many are low cost. You have to make sure that your income and expenses balance each month.

Once you have created your budget, the next step is to make sure that you stay on target. This is the hardest part for most of us. It sometimes is helpful to write down all your expenditures on a spreadsheet or even just in a notebook so it is easier to keep track; just be sure to save all receipts.

Budgeting as a college student is not the worst thing. It will actually help you in the long run. Budgeting in this economy is such a requirement that you will probably keep doing it for the long term. Even when you have the means to spend more, it is still smart to keep track of what you are spending on a daily basis, so you can save for your dream vacation, house, and other goals. Living with a budget, you will come out on top.

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