For many students going to college is something we all dream about. No more living with your parents or your siblings. You no longer have to follow the rules of the house or do chores if you don’t want to. It is the freedom that many dream about, but leaving for college also means living on a budget for most. For many students, budgeting expenses is a new concept because prior to moving out you lived with your family and your parents handled that responsibility. College can be a stressful/exciting change for everyone, but students need to know how to budget their money so they can have the freedom they desire as well as be able to support themselves in a part-time job, and while going to school.
As stressful as it sounds there are a few easy steps you can take to keep track of your money!
1. Track your spending- Before being able to create a budget you need to know how much money you spend and what you are spending it on. Write down and track exactly where and what you are spending your money on. This allows you to get a sense of what you need versus what you want.
2. Make of list of expenses- Once you know where your money is going, make a list of required expenses and what income you are making. Required expenses vary from rent money to weekly grocery shopping.
3. Calculate- Now, see if you need to make cuts. Determine if your incoming money is enough to cover the required expenses. Make cuts as needed.
4. Be prepared to make adjustments to your budget as your income fluctuates.
The steps above are the easiest parts of budgeting. Being a college student means you have responsibilities, but it also means you are still young and potentially unclear of what you need versus what you want. Do you need to spend $30 to go out with your friends or is that a want? The line between a want and a need can seem very vague, but it’s ultimately up to the student to decide. Be reasonable! Save some of your money so you can fulfill some of the future wants. College can be fun and budgeting your money will make your college experience that much easier. If you have a plan you won’t come out of college in debt because you whip out your credit card every time you want a new pair of shoes. Be smart! College is a new experience for everyone and it should be fun, but it is also a time to grow up and learn about the adult world. Make good choices while you are a student and budget your money!