It’s no secret that college can be expensive. In fact, the cost of higher education has been on the rise for years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. That’s why it’s more important than ever for students to learn how to create a college student budget. A budget is simply a plan for how you will use your money each month. When you create a budget, you can see where your money is going and make changes if needed. This can help you save money while in school and avoid debt later on!
You may be wondering, “Why do I need to create a budget? Can’t I just use my debit card for everything?” While it is true that some people prefer using their debit cards instead of cash because they don’t have as much control over where their money goes, others find that having a budget helps them stay on track with their finances.
This is especially true for college students who may not have as much income coming in from jobs or parents each month compared to other people in their age group. They may also feel like they don’t need one because they are so busy with classes and extracurricular activities that they don’t really think about money management until it’s too late.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Create A Budget
- 2 Tips on How to Save Money as a College Student
- 3 What a College Student Budget Looks like
- 4 Research Your Budget
- 5 What Expenses Are Included In The College Student Budget?
How to Create A Budget
It is very important to know how to create a good budget below are some great tips on how to create a college student budget.
Identify Your Source of Income
If you’re a student and would like to start creating a budget, there are a few things you should know first. The first step is to figure out how much money you have coming in each month. This includes wages from jobs, grants, scholarships, and any other sources of income. Once you have this number, you can start to think about how to allocate it.
Create Categories for Your Expenses
The next step is to create categories for your expenses. This will help you track where your money is going each month. Some common expense categories include rent/mortgage, food, transportation, utilities, entertainment, groceries, transportation, and school supplies. It’s important to be realistic when creating this list and remember that you may not need to budget for some of these expenses every month (for example, if you don’t have any classes on Fridays, then you probably don’t need to budget for entertainment that day). This will help you budget accordingly throughout the year so that you’re not caught off guard by unexpected charges.
Allocate Your Money
Once you have your income and expenses figured out, it’s time to start allocating your money. This means deciding how much money you will spend in each category each month. It’s important to be realistic when doing this and not overspend on one category just because you have a lot of money left over from another category.
Set Aside Money for Savings
Once you’ve allocated your money, it’s time to set aside some of it for savings. It’s important to save at least 20% of each paycheck so that you can build up an emergency fund and prepare yourself financially if something unexpected happens (like losing your job or needing to repair your car).
Track Your Progress
One of the best ways to stay on track with your budget is by tracking your progress. This means recording how much money you have left in each category at the end of each month. This can help you identify areas where you are overspending and make changes if needed.
Review Your Budget Monthly
It’s a good idea to review your budget each month and make adjustments as needed – for example, if you’re finding that it just isn’t working out with one category (like groceries) then maybe try cutting back on another area like entertainment so there’s more money available. You can also adjust the budget as your income or expenses change throughout the year.
Tips on How to Save Money as a College Student
- Buy used books instead of new ones. It can cost a lot less to buy used textbooks on eBay or Amazon than buying them in the bookstore.
- Use public transportation whenever possible, as it’s usually cheaper than owning and maintaining your own vehicle (especially if you live near campus).
- Rent movies from Redbox rather than going to the movie theater.
- Bring your own lunch to school instead of buying food at the cafeteria or nearby restaurants.
- Sell unwanted clothes, furniture, and other belongings online or through a garage sale.
- Invest in a quality coffee maker and make your own coffee rather than buying it every day from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.
- Live with roommates whenever possible to split the cost of rent and utilities.
- Cook at home instead of eating out. This can be a lot cheaper (and healthier) than ordering food from restaurants.
- Get a part-time job to earn extra money.
- Put your spare change into a jar and save it up for later.
- Make a budget and stick to it! It may take some time to get use to.
These are just a few tips on how to save money as a college student, there are plenty of other ways to do it, too! Just be creative and think about what works best for you.
What a College Student Budget Looks like
Most college students budgets will look something like this:
- Rent/mortgage: $500-$800
- Food: $200-$300
- Utilities: $50-$100
- Transportation: $100-$200
- Entertainment: $50-$100
- School Supplies: $25-$50
- Miscellaneous: $50-$100
This example shows that most of your budget will likely go towards rent and food, with a small portion allocated for entertainment, transportation, and other expenses. Keep this in mind as you’re creating your own budget, make sure you allocate enough money for the essentials so you don’t run into trouble down the road!
Research Your Budget
If you have any questions about what a college student budget looks like, do some research online. There are many websites that can help you create one based on your income and expenses. You should also check with your school’s financial aid office if they offer any resources or advice for students who want to make a budget.
What Expenses Are Included In The College Student Budget?
All of your living expenses should be included in your budget, such as rent or mortgage payments, food costs (groceries and dining out), utility bills like water/electricity/gas usage, transportation costs (public transportation fares or gas for cars) as well as any debt payments (student loans, credit cards) that you have to make every month.
Creating a budget is an important part of money management, whether you’re a student or not. For students, it can be especially helpful in ensuring that they have enough money to cover all of their expenses while still being able to save for the future. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be hard. With a little bit of time and effort, you can create a budget that works for you and helps you stay on track with your finances while in school!