Creating a budget helps you develop good financial habits, plus an awareness of your spending.
- Create a budget that thoroughly tracks your expenses and income.
- Be realistic about your expenses.
- Spend any balance left from loans responsibly on education expenses.
- Update your budget periodically.
- Do your expenses exceed your income? Watch this video. Ask yourself if you have time to work, or take on a few more hours at your job. Use your campus meal plan before eating out with friends. If you live off campus, consider cooking at home and carpooling with others. If you live on campus, think about a shared room instead of a private one – it usually saves you money.
- Do you have a credit card? Here is a video for you. Remember not to spend money that you won’t be able to reasonably repay within a limited amount of time. Monitor interest rates, and make your payments on time.
- Do you understand debt and borrowing money? This video will help you. Debt is money you agree to pay back. When you borrow money, think about debt – as well as your income or potential income once you graduate from college.
Creating a spending plan will help you get a better idea of how much money you spend and how much you may have left to repay a loan in the future.
You can use this budget plan to develop a spending plan while you're attending school.
Remember to be realistic about your expenses, spend any balance left from loans responsibly on educational expenses only, and update your spending plan periodically.
What if I'm about to graduate, or I have expenses in addition to my education?
If you are approaching graduation, if you are enrolled in a graduate or professional program, or if you are a student with existing obligations (children, mortgage, etc.), take a look at our monthly spending plan. This spending plan accommodates many different expenses you may not have needed to consider for your budget plan. Creating a monthly spending plan will also prepare you to approach loan repayment comfortably.
What if I don't have enough money to meet my needs?
- Do you have time to work, or work a few more hours in your current job?
- Use your campus meal plan before going out with friends.
- If you live off campus, consider cooking at home instead of dining out.
- Be a thrifty shopper by collecting coupons or buying store brands.
- Enjoy free or low cost events on campus or in your community.
- Try carpooling to work or school.
- If you live on campus, consider a shared room instead of a private one, a less expensive dorm, or a change in your meal plan option.
- Be aware of the little things you spend your money on like trips to the vending machine, daily lattes, music downloads, or out-of-network texting. These expenses can add up a lot faster than you think.
Make a Budget Plan while Attending School (spreadsheet will download)
Make a Monthly Spending Plan (spreadsheet will download)