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Budgeting for College Students


Steps and Tips to maintain financial wellness:

1. Assess Your Finances:
Ask yourself these questions-

How much do you have in a savings account or other bank account that is readily available for your use?
Do you have any savings bonds that you can cash?

How much money do you anticipate saving from high school graduation gifts or other sources this year?

How much money after taxes do you anticipate saving from a summer job?

How much money will your parents contribute to fund your living expenses?

How much will you earn from work-study or another part-time job?

Are you covered under your parents’ health and dental insurance plans, or will you have to get your own student insurance, like student car insurance?

Gather this information and add it together, you have now established your fixed assets. This will help determine your monthly budget. Next, take the number you have added and multiply it by months you expect to earn the same amount. Then, divide the number of months while you are in school. This is your monthly budget.

2. Determine your Expenses

How much of your tuition, fees and room & board will you be responsible for?

If you aren’t living on campus, what will your rent be?

Will you have utility payments for gas, water, electricity and oil?

Will you have to pay for internet access, cable television, a home phone line, a cell phone?

What are your transportation costs? Will you be driving to and from school, or taking a bus or train? Is your school in another state thus requiring occasional airline travel?

If you have a car, don’t forget to factor in student auto loan payments and costs for student insurance, gas, tolls, parking and occasional maintenance.

Is your meal plan included with room & board or do you have to pay as you go? Will you be grocery shopping and cooking for yourself? Will you occasionally eat out or order in?

Will you be taking anyone on an occasional date?

Will you be purchasing birthday, holiday, wedding or other gifts throughout the year?

Will you have to buy new clothes for school or for any occasions throughout the year?

*Save your receipts for everything you buy over a month and lump the expenditures into spending categories.
Set Your Financial Goals
Start by setting goals:

Short-term goals change often and may include things such as paying rent and other bills, hitting a new restaurant, seeing a new band in concert or taking a weekend ski trip

Medium-term goals may include taking a summer road trip with your friends, buying next semester’s books, studying abroad next year or financing a new car with a student auto loan

Long-term goals may be paying off your student loans and private loans, investing in the stock market or saving a down payment for a condo

Once you have your goals, assign the monetary figure that will allow you to reach them. Next look for a bank and also consider a credit card.

Assess and Prioritize Your Expenditures
The third step in creating a college student budget is to analyze your assets and expenditures to figure out how you can have it all, or how you will eliminate what’s not necessary. Many people realize that they actually don’t have enough money to pay for all of their expenditures.

Student budget plans that work . (2008). Retrieved from

To help establish your own student budget call United Financial Counselors today!

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