The fun part of college typically doesn’t compare to the debt that can be accrued afterward. Every month there’s a struggle to make ends meet while in college. It can be difficult to go to school while paying bills when all of your money seems to be disappearing straight into textbooks, tuition and room and board. Not being able to keep any money you have coming in every month is a common issue with college students. But knowing how to manage your money will, one day, be useful when it comes time to pay off your student loans. For college students, there’s no better time than now to begin learning how to manage their money. One way that students can help make their life easier during college is to establish a college budget. Here’s a guide to help set it up.
Money Coming In
The first thing to do is establish your income. Whether it’s coming from a paycheck, loan, or allowance; it’s important to figure out exactly how much that you have coming in a month before deciding its fate. Regardless of its origin; all of the money that is received within the month must be accounted for prior to budgeting.
The Necessities Of College Life
Once this is done; you can start to focus on the mandatory bills that must be paid monthly. This includes rent, utilities, books, tuition, and food; as long as they apply. Don’t forget to throw in cellphone, car payments, and any other amounts that must be made monthly in order for you to survive. These items are considered the “necessities of college life” and must be paid for every month.
Non Essential Spending
Everyone, including college students, makes unnecessary purchases. If you use a credit or debit card, you can easily check your statements online and see where your money is going every month. Get the total of how much you spent the last several months on things that weren’t a necessity. You may be surprised at how much money you’re wasting needlessly each month.
Now that you have your budget you’ll clearly see if your income covers your current lifestyle. If you’re in need of creating a budget for college, odds are money is tight. This means it’s time to make some sacrifices to lower your expenses. The other option is to increase your revenue but of course that’s much harder than cutting your spending. To decrease your expenses you’ll want to focus on eliminating your non-essential spending. It should be a real possibility, since after all, this spending is for things you don’t really need.
Once you’ve got your college budget written up you can move on to learning about ways to conserve money while in college. For instance; going out to eat and partying is a common thing to do in college and that’s great. But, it’s important to have a certain budget for it based on your income for a smart way of handling your finances. And most importantly; a little willpower goes a long way, so don’t give in to temptation. You have to remember the value of saving money and accomplishing your budgeting goal will give you a better lifestyle both during and after college.