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Saving and Spending Wisely in College

Mother hugging daughter while dropping her off at collegeGoing 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 checking account that has a lot of great benefits to college students.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


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