Going off to college is such an exciting time in a young adult’s life… It is a time of complete freedom, independence, and not to mention, responsibility. One of the more unnerving responsibilities that come with adulthood is the task of creating a budget.
While the hassle of not only creating a budget, but also sticking to one, may seem intimidating, it’s really quite simple. Here are seven tips to help you save and spend wisely in college:
- The first step to creating a budget is to know exactly what expenses to expect:
- Are you going to be paying your own tuition? Don’t forget about the expense of books, school supplies, transportation, rent and utilities, food, clothing, entertainment, and savings.
- List your income/allowance and your expenses:
- It’s best to overvalue your expenses and undervalue your income/allowance
- Be sure to write down everything you spend money on during the month… Break this into categories so you can more easily recognize the areas where you can cut back
- Be sure to keep up with your spending. By observing your spending habits you are less likely to find yourself with overdraft charges—if you find yourself in a constant state of paying overdraft fees and can’t seem to track down your funds, it may not be a bad idea to sit down with your local CB&S Banker to see how we can help improve your finances.
- Listing your income brings me to my next question… Are you planning on working throughout your college career?
- It’s not a bad idea to get a part-time job during college. Most colleges even have work study programs.
- If you do choose to work throughout college, you may need a bank account to enroll in direct deposit—CB&S Bank offers a great student account that has a lot of great benefits to college students.
- Start saving now:
- Plan for emergencies by adding a “Savings” category to your budget
- Remember that even saving the smallest amount adds up in the future
- If you are planning on taking a trip for Spring Break or for Summer vacation and don’t want to break the bank, consider a savings program that allows you to save a little each month. CB&S Bank’s Vacation Club Savings allows automatic transfers from your checking account while earning a competitive rate of interest.
- Learn to differentiate between your wants and needs:
- When grocery shopping try to make a list and stick to it. This will help you from overbuying when shopping. Also make sure to take full advantage of sale items and use coupons when you can!
- Try cutting out the coffee shop pit stops you make every day on your way to class… If you really need the caffeine, start bringing your coffee with you.
- Learn to pack a lunch and cook dinner yourself. You can save a lot of money just by not eating out for every meal.
- Take advantage of your student status:
- Flash that student ID every chance you get—a lot of stores and restaurants give college students discounts just by showing your student ID
- Learn to take advantage of all that your university does for you. A lot of campuses have free movie screenings, events with free food, transportation options and even outdoor rental centers with bikes, kayaks and more.
- It’s okay to adjust your budget—in fact, you probably should!
- As situations change, so should your budget… For example, if your landlord raises or lowers your rent, it is a good idea to reflect that within your budget.