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Budgeting Your Money as a College Student - Maximize What you Have

Updated on July 15, 2011

Budgeting in College

College years are great, though very often it is tight, financially speaking. If that is the case for you, you are not alone by any means. Its very common for those in college to feel like they just never have money, and in fact they are often just feeling lucky to be there for as expensive as it can cost to go. So it is critical that you maximize the money that you have, and create a budget that you can stick to. This will cause you to be able to stretch out your money some, which is exactly what you need right now.

You need to learn to master the art of saving the money you have, and making the most of even pocket change sometimes. You will be so glad you did, and you are going to learn so much about life in the process and I think that is part of the beauty of what you learn in college. I know exactly how it is to want to send out for a pizza and especially during finals and late nights when you are up so late you get hungry again. Pizzas add up quickly though or coffees and frappachinos , with not much to show for except a few extra pounds perhaps. Bite the bullet, you can do this! Make your own coffee, and have healthy snacks on hand that you don't grab until absolutely necessary.

Make that budget

Put your budget on a sheet of paper or in a cheap 29 cent notebook. It doesn't need to be anything elaborate as far as budgets go. It allows you to know what you have, what you absolutely need, and maybe allows for a few wants on occasion. See if there are any areas that you can cut out, or cut down on in frequency, etc. Don't feel sorry for yourself, and look at it AS part of the way you are becoming successful. You can do this, but many cannot or do not, or think they can't. Don't fall into that trap. Determine what you absolutely need in school. This will be different if you are living on campus or off campus, or at home and commuting.

Keep track of your expenses as they come up, as you may have forgotten a few things to take into consideration, whether gas or postage and other things you need. These are small amounts but can mean a lot when you don't have much to begin with. Track your expenses for an entire month. You want to account for every dollar. As you look back over this, determine what you really needed, and what you didn't really need. Sometimes its ok to take that little break, they can be much needed, just make sure you don't over do it or realize that you hurt your budget.

Identify any weaknesses in your spending habits, and aim to conquer those things. You will be so glad you did that, and may be glad for the rest of your life that you conquered it early. Succeed where others have failed. Address your weaknesses, and consider compromises or cheaper alternatives or cutting out something altogether.

No matter your situation, you can make every one of your dollars go further. Get into the habit of it, and learn to enjoy free things in life that might be all around you! Take advantage of dollar theaters for fun, or walking around the downtown area with friends. If you go out to dinner at restaurants and follow with a movie every weekend, there goes your money.


Evaluate your progress

You will begin to see savings, or at least not see so much of your money going out.  Make it a challenge to see how little you can live on.  The goal is getting control of what you have, and keeping track of your budget.  Have the goal of meeting your monthly financial goals.  Avoid falling back into bad habits, and if you do, get right back up and on track again.  Keep that notebook handy, and evaluate your budget to see if there are any needed changes.  Get creative on ways to save, and enjoy those college years.


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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I hear you, Rpalulis! Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      These are great ways for budgeting your money as a college student to maximize what you have. Having a budget on paper is key. Something I myself have to get back in the habit of doing.