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How to create a budget while in college

By Audrey Erb

Budgeting in college is hard for most, because everyone loves food and spending money on it while stressed for college. Textbooks are a huge expense for all college students, while knowing they may be cheaper online. Transportation to and from college is also an expense and as are school supplies for classes. The housing situation whether you live at home or at your own place depends on whether you have more money their. All of these key factors go into whether your money situation is doing okay or not. Take into account whether or not would show whether you are trying to pay off these expenses or waiting until a different time to do that. College students don’t know how much everything will cost from the start, and then realize it all adds up at the end. When taking these steps, you will hopefully be financially and mentally stable to becoming a better person.

Start off with this process:

  1. First of all know what all your expenses are and make a list of all of them.
  2. Make sure that any needs are then highlighted or starred.
  3. Any of your wants should be left alone and put off until the end.
  4. Read over all of them and see what the cost of each of them are rounded up to as an estimate at least.
  5. Total all of them up and see where it fits in your budget.

With all of that calculated, start recording your actual expenses every week and realize how much your needs cost. Also make sure to keep all your receipts.

Budgeting Tips:

  • Organize your records, on pencil and paper, in a notebook or something you won’t lose. Don’t make it on your phone.
  • Make yourself a routine: at a certain time update your records which may be daily, weekly, or every other day.
  • Include a category called “Unusual” in your notebook for any that don’t fit into a category.

Review your spending for the little items that add up to the big monthly expenditures. Instead of spending that money on an iced coffee or McDonalds for lunch, you could think again. Bring your own lunch and bring a drink in the mornings, even if it isn’t that iced coffee from Starbucks. You’ll live without it for a day or two.

Make your financial aid refund last. When you get that money from your financial aid, don’t spend it all at once. Make it last throughout the semester, on any other school related things you may need.

Comparison shopping is another way to help you budget. It’s just comparing products to get the best prices and best values. Do your research before overspending on something you need, and not knowing you could have saved $50 while shopping online, using coupons, or going to a different store. Download a phone app and check out the differences before you regret making a huge purchase without saving anything when you could’ve had Albert, RetailMeNot, or Groupon on your phone.

Use your credit cards wisely. Before you decide to get a credit card, think about how many cards you already have, and if you really need another one. Keep turning down credit card offers you have got in the mail, you haven’t accepted so keep turning them down, until you really need one.

Think before you spend, and keep recording all your data to see how much money you have to work with. Splurging isn’t always the way to go, as you may want to start saving incase of an emergency. It may take time to get into the budgeting process, but slowly you can get there and see exactly where you are with your spending and  saving. Make sure you set all of your priorities first and then get to splurging in the future.

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