Budget Money for College Students

College Students Income

College students may not have had to think about budgeting before entering college, but most students have a set amount of money to work with for college and budgeting is a must. The amount of money a student receives from college loans, financial aid, their own savings and family help may seem like a large amount of money until they start to evaluate their expenses.

Pathway Sign

Student Credit Card

Often this is their first experience with a credit card, and it is important for them to use the card wisely. The way students handle credit cards is the number one mistake made by college students. Many cards have high interest rates and they allow students to spend more than they can possibly afford. Some students start spending too much money on entertainment, clothes and gas. Before they know it, they can’t make the payment on their credit card. The outcome of this problem can hurt the student’s credit rating over the long term. It’s easy to make a mistake, but realize that those mistakes can prove costly even later in life.

Budgeting Basics

The basics of budgeting are the same for students as they are for anybody else. Lack of budgeting is the third most common mistake students made in college. Budgets are necessary for a student to know how to manage their money.

First, list all their income and money they have to work with for each semester. Then list your expenses, such as tuition, books, groceries, gas, entertainment, etc., in as much detail as possible. The worksheet below should be very helpful to look at the big picture when it is in black and white right before you. As long as the expenses are less than the income they are in good shape if they stick to the budget.

Budgeting Worksheet -Courtesy about.com

If an expense is incurred more or less often than monthly, convert it to a monthly amount when calculating the monthly budget amount. For instance, auto expense that is billed every six months would be converted to monthly by dividing the six month premium by six.

College students may not have had to think about budgeting before entering college, but most students have a set amount of money to work with in college and budgeting is a must. The amount of money a student receives from college loans, financial aid, their own savings and family help may seem like a large amount of money until they start to evaluate their expenses

Credit Cards for Students

Often this is their first experience with a credit card, and it is important for them to use the card wisely. The way students handle credit cards is the number one mistake made by college students. Many cards have high interest rates and they allow students to spend more than they can possibly afford. Some students start spending too much money on entertainment, clothes and gas. Before they know it, they can’t make the payment on their credit card. The outcome of this problem can hurt the student’s credit rating over the long term. It’s easy to make a mistake, but realize that those mistakes can prove costly even later in life.

Typical College Activities

Budgeting Worksheets Help

The basics of budgeting are the same for students as they are for anybody else. Lack of budgeting is the third most common mistake students made in college. Budgets are necessary for a student to learn money management.

First, list all their income and money they have to work with for each semester. Then list your expenses, such as tuition, books, groceries, gas, entertainment, etc., in as much detail as possible. The worksheet below should be very helpful to look at the big picture when it is in black and white right before you.

As long as the expenses are less than the income they are in good shape if they stick to the budget. Some college students work part time while attending college to meet all their expenses when their expenses are greater than their income..

Budgeting Tips for Students

The Whole Picture

To sum it up, these are the steps to take to manage your money well.

  1. Prepare a budget worksheet.
  2. Start tracking your incidental expenses. You know where the bulk of your money is going, but what about all those little extras?
  3. Learn all you can about budgeting, spending, and saving your money.
    Take advantage of student discounts, and free offers. Here are some helpful student web sites online to help you save:
    Student Market
    EDU.com
    Stubex.com
  4. Tips for college students to Live a frugal lifestyle:
  • Shop Smart and Spend Less.
  • Define wants from needs.
  • Buy used text books which can often be found cheaper online than in the college bookstore.
  • Don’t smoke, drink or do drugs. They are expensive and won’t help your academic performance.
  • Recycle and reuse study materials such as pens, pencils, papers and notebooks.
  • Make plans around the money you can afford.
  • Don’t’ be tempted by how much your friend is spending.
  • Make the most of the college’s meal plan and any college event where there is free food.
  • Get a part time job.

Summary

This is a great time for students to learn money management skills that will follow them throughout their life. They will have a good credit rating. If they can be self-disciplined, they will have enough money to meet their needs throughout their college years.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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Comments 18 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

profsear, Thanks so much for your comments.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Setting up and Automated Spreadsheet is good for this sort of planning. Spreadsheets can be set up with one column for every month of the year. You can set them up to subtotal all income, and subtotal all expenditures. If you forget something as an item somehwere in the year (for non-monthly type items), you can add it to your list of expenditures and allocate dollars to be spent when you expect that particular bill to be paid. Best part is, it does all the arithmetic, and reduces the process of good budgeting to being honest about how you fill in the blanks.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Jim, Those are great suggestions. You sound like a CPA. Thanks for your comments.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A very good, detailed, informative hub. I won't be able to use it because I am a few 'days' too late.


AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Pam, great hub. This is something students should look at. I love your hubs. The detail makes it standout. It is always a pleasure! Take care friend! :)


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

hello Pam, my super dupper contest queen, another fantastic hub coming from you and a must read for all people planning on college. Lots of important information a great research. You are a super star you fan and friend, rate up darski


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hello, Thanks so much for your comment.

AshAshlie, I hope my hub might help students. Thank you for your kind remarks.

Darsky, I think you are going to make me blush with your words that stroke my ego! You know I always appreciate your comments. Love and Peace to you Darsky.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Pamela - that was beautifully done and presented! It's been a while since mine were in college but I remember it well and you hit all the right stuff.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Audry, Thank you so much for your comment.


KRadke profile image

KRadke 5 years ago from New England

Great Hub! You made me now plan for one of my own on how somebody can get college for free, or at least, pretty darn close to it. I am proof that it works and I know a good two dozen of people who do the same. -- My sincere Thanks!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

KRadke, That sounds wonderful and I hope you wrote a hub about it. Thanks for your comments.


days leaper profile image

days leaper 5 years ago from england

What a Great idea to help students, young people setting up for themselves / on their own and most probably for the first time. And did you know most parents hit a conflict at this time, not only the young person is saying 'I want to do it myself now' but the Parent has to deal with a sort of "go on then go" versus "how will you manage without me?" -and even who do I support now?

I was lucky as my bank allows me several accounts without imposing restrictions, penalties etc. (I learned building societies don't!) I use a debit *(not credit) card so I don't really get charged interest. I put my bills into a separate current account and make monthly transfers to it to cover the bills. I never get into debt, if I do overspend I work to get straight out of it -imposing stricter budgets etc. And have a cushion rather than an overdraft. I try to keep reminding myself to not go below £100n -so I'm getting a bit of interest as well!

The only annoying whenever I visit my bank they seem keen to sell me something: But I won't have it as I know loans etc. look good to start with but soon become a drag with the masses of extra payments you have to make.

(That said: Can I have a Gold star?)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

days leaper, You seem to have all your monetary affairs is excellent order, so yes you may have a Gold Star! I appreciate all your comments.


yourbudgetangels profile image

yourbudgetangels 4 years ago

Great article, thanks for sharing it


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

yourbudgetangels, I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Thanks for your comments.


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 21 months ago from Gloucestershire

Thank you for this hub it really helped! I started my own budgeting worksheet to help me track income and expenses. Surprising how much I spend a year!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 21 months ago from United States Author

Jacob, I am so glad this hub helped you, and I was amazed when I started tracking expenses also. Best of luck and thanks for your comments.

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