Student budget planning is the process where a student, especially a college or a university student, evaluates his/her earnings and expenses so as to plan on their monetary use. Budgeting is an important thing for everyone despite what they earn. Student budget planning enhances the financial stability of the student as well as ensuring that they can pay for the essential and important bills on time. For instance, rent, school fees, among others. It also helps the student in ensuring that they do not spend more than they are earning, thereby allowing them to make proper short term and long term financial plans to avoid falling into debts.
Track your school expenses
This involves keeping a record of all your school transactions so that you can easily track each and every detail. Tracking all your school expenses is not a simple task and may sound impossible, but with good record keeping as well as saving all your receipts, make it a simple task. Tracking expenses simply means that tracking your credit and debit card purchases as well as your cash. There are a number of ways of how you can keep track of your money. For instance, using a notebook or phone. Carry a notebook and a pen or your phone/iPad with yourself always to record each and every transaction that you carry out on a daily basis. It is also important to include the date and the specific reason for the transaction, including lunch, school supplies, among others. Finally, add up all the transactions either at the end of the week or at the end of the month to determine your total expenditure as well as seeing where your money is going.
After tracking all your expenses, then you can now go ahead budgeting. This involves taking your student receipts, house, and board bills and adding them up to get the monthly total. Check your bank account balance as well as your student loan and add them up to know your total cash and subtract the bills. After getting the balance, now you can go ahead and account for the balance in your budget. When doing your budget, you can consider the following categories to make it easier and more clear.
This is the amount of money that you have earned by working or grants, and it includes the cash that is not payable back. The sources include part-time job income, summer job income, parent/guardian contributions, scholarship, bursaries, and any other grants, including 529 Plan in case you are a beneficiary. This makes one of your income sources for your budget.
This is the amount of money that you receive for being a student, whether offered by the government or any other source. This is another source of money for your budget; that is, if you receive any student loan though, payable back after school.
This is the total cash used for school learning. They include tuition fees, school supplies, textbooks, and notebooks purchase, among others, depending on your institution and course. Add all the expenses to get the total school expenses.
Room and board bills
This is the cash used to pay your rent bills, whether residing in the school hostels or outside rentals or apartments, as well as the bill for the meal plan.
In case you reside outside campus, then you need to consider hiring a car for transport or the cash to pay to and from campus fare. Under this category, also remember to include cash for going home for holidays.
This includes costs like phone calls, internet, among others. This is for doing your assignments, texting your coursemates about homework, and group discussions.
Finally, consider the campus life fun, which you will engage in from time to time.
Budgeting Templates & Worksheets
Tips for Efficient Budgeting
Avoid credit: Yes, having a credit card is a good thing and a savior in some instances, but it is advisable to avoid credits. In case you don’t have liquid cash, it is better to avoid taking credit, especially if you do not have a sure source for your credit card payment. This can lead you to bad debts and interest charges.
Limit your food expenses: As a student, taking your meals outside seems like the easiest way to feed, but this might lead you to empty your wallet even before the end of the month. It is advisable to take advantage of cheap groceries and to cook yourself. You should always ensure that food does not consume most of your finances by taking meals at the restaurants.
Buy second-hand textbooks: Buying new textbooks is one of the most expensive expenses you encounter on campus. It is advisable to buy used books or rent them for a given period in the used books stores to cut the cost of buying textbooks. Another way to save the textbook cash is by selling the previous books that are no longer needed except those required for future reference.
Take your time and research when creating your budget: A proper budget requires sitting down with a pen and paper to draft it or using a spreadsheet. It is important to research more on how to create a student budget or to use student budget templates. Creating a proper budget involves listing down all your income sources, followed by all your expenses, no matter how cheap it is. It is also important to differentiate between what you need and what you want and plan them accordingly. A proper budget should have a total with a positive balance.
The above-given tips have described how to make a good student budget plan to help you manage your finances during your college life. You can also use our free student templates and worksheets to draft your own student budget plan or even use them instead.