Sometimes, budgeting can be challenging, even for college students. With new experiences and numerous opportunities, you can be tempted to indulge yourself and let your parents be your financial safety net.
But if you can learn to manage your finances in the early stages of life, your financial stability increases in the future. Yes, you might not make lots of money in school now. But you’ll experience everything it has to offer.
But you don’t want to go broke while you’re at it, only to have massive student loan debt to pay. This guide will show you practical budgeting tips to help you in college.
Calculate Your Student Budget
With basic budgeting, all you have to do is:
- List all the money that comes in,
- Track how much you spend, and
- See how the two balance themselves out.
After doing that, you can proceed with setting goals to help you reduce your spending. That will help you save more money and direct some or all of them towards student loans if you have one.
Then, with various student loan forgiveness out there, you can choose one to help you pay off your loans once and for all. Here are four ways to plan your budget:
- Establish Your Source Of Revenue
First, you need to know how much money you’ll have coming in. That will establish your spending parameters. So you need to think carefully about every possible way to establish your income or source of revenue.
Keep in mind that your Maintenance Loan comes in three big installments throughout the school year. So you have to budget them out across that period. Here are some standard income streams you can consider:
- Additional money from grants, scholarships, or bursaries,
- Your Maintenance Loan
- Salary from your part-time job
- Money from your parents
- Estimate How Much Goes Out
Next, you need to find out where all the money is going. You can check your bank statement to know your previous purchases. Another way is to put down a rough estimate of how much you think you spent on each item.
You can use various budgeting apps to make things easier. You’ve got a lot of things happening every day, and each day is different. Without a structure, it’ll be challenging to keep up with managing your spending, and that can hugely affect your budget.
That’s where budget apps come in handy. You can try free budgeting apps like Mint and others like YNAB, EveryDollar, etc. Here are some essential student expenses to think of:
- Student Insurance
- Electricity and gas
- Mobile phone
- Study textbooks
You also need to look at non-essential student expenses like taxis, eating out, hobbies, alcohol, etc., and subscriptions services.
- Calculate Your Weekly Budget
After you’ve laid all the expenses out, you have to break them down into a weekly budget. Watch out because this is where things start to get serious.
- Calculate the overall income for an academic term at your school
- Subtract your crucial expenses from the same period
- Divide the number you have left by the number of weeks you have in a term.
When you do this calculation, you’ll know how much you need to spend on the non-essential things each week. Let’s take an example.
Let’s say the income for the first academic term is $4,000, and your essential expenditure totals $2,000. That means you would have to spend $167 per week (if the full term is 12 weeks).
It’s advisable to budget according to weeks, not months, because it’s easy to overspend at the beginning of the month.
- Develop Some Goals
If you come up with a reasonable weekly budget BY following the steps outlined above, that’s fantastic! But sometimes, you can be left with little or no money at all. In such times, what do you do?
Regardless of your goals to budget or cut down some expenses, it all centers on developing plans to boost your income or reduce your spending. For example, sometimes, you may be spending $50 on takeaways every month. In such cases, you could try reducing the amount.
If you have a gym membership that’s taking away a chunk of your student loan, then you could train at home or develop creative ideas.
These tips can help you pay off some or all of your student loans. You can even opt for loan forgiveness like Public Student Loan Forgiveness to clear the remaining debt.
The tips outlined in this guide can help you save money in college and pay off your student loans, especially if you get a part-time job. So try to get a side job that works well with your class schedules.
Aside from the income you get from the job. You can also gain enough experience that can help you in your future career. So start searching, and if you need help, ask the experts.