How To Budget Money In College
Knowing how to budget money in college can be a particularly difficult challenge. Aside from the obvious expenses related to your education, moving away to college can generate other debts that you didn’t expect or may have trouble dealing with. To avoid disappointments and to make sure you can both study and eat, it makes sense to learn how to budget your money early on.
- Set up a budget. Figure out your ongoing expenses. This can include tuition, books and other school supplies, accommodation, and utilities and transportation to the school if you live off-campus. Add other expenses such as food and clothing but keep in mind that those are more flexible.
- Decide your entertainment budget in advance. One of the most useful ways to learn how to budget money in college is to be aware how much the partying will cost you. Sorority and fraternity fees, drinks and food, going out with new friends and exploring the new city can end up taking a big chunk out of your budget.
- Resist the temptation to splurge. To effectively budget money in college, make sure you know how much you have before you start spending on anything beyond the basics. At the beginning of the month, set aside the amount of money you have to spend in extras, whether this means entertainment or a new lamp for your room. Then spend from that stack of money until it’s gone. Don’t dip into other areas under any circumstances.
- Try to find a job. Rather than trying to do magic with the amount your parents send you, look for a part-time job, even if it’s only for a couple of days on the weekend. You can use this money to pay for extras but you can also use any experience gained as an asset to your resume upon graduation. Another way to bring money in is to sell your old textbooks at the beginning of the next school year.
- Look for ways to save. Another side of learning how to budget money in college is to find ways to spend less. The easiest way to do this is to avoid having take-out food every day. Some Chinese food or a pizza once a week, especially if shared among friends, won’t kill your budget, but focus on home-cooked meals most of the time. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. Some frozen veggies, low-fat cheese, and whole wheat bread can make a quick lunch and it won’t cost you much.