When you’re in college you will be responsible, perhaps for the first time, to manage your money and pay all of your own bills. While you may be fortunate enough to have some expenses paid for by your family, you will have to budget the rest of your income, including money from a job, grants or scholarships, and student loans, to pay the rest of your ongoing expenses. If you go to UAB Online, then you won’t have to worry about room and board, but that’s just one expense of many you will find yourself incurring. In order to manage your money wisely, you have to be sure to create a comprehensive budget based on your income. Here is how to budget while you’re in college.
- Account for all of your transportation.
If you are driving during your college years, you’re going to seriously need to monitor your gas expenses. You should provide yourself with a monthly budget for gas. If you start to exceed that budget, then you will either need to adjust one of your other budgets or find a way to drive less. If you don’t have a car, use public transit rather than taxis. And don’t forget to set money aside each month to cover airplane tickets to visit family during school breaks.
- Have a realistic food and beverage budget.
You will definitely need to watch your spending on food, which is often the easiest way to go through all of your cash flow. Try to save as much money as possible by shopping at the grocery store and cooking more. You don’t have to be really great in the kitchen to make your own meals; you can buy a lot of frozen or refrigerated meals that just need to be heated and served. If you know that you can’t resist the urge to go out for dinner and drinks on the weekends, then just be sure to account for that in your budget so you aren’t surprised if you run out of money at the end of the month.
- Consider recreational activities.
When we look at all the things that we need to spend money on throughout the month, recreation seems like it’s the one that we can spare the most, but there will undoubtedly be times when you want to spend money on a concert, weekend getaway, or other fun activity all of your friends are doing. Finding ways to keep yourself entertained while you’re going to school is very important if you want to feel like you’re getting the most out of your college experience, so it’s important to be realistic about the fact that you need some recreation, as well as the fact that you have to keep that spending closely monitored.
- Liming your shopping.
You may be able to cut your shopping for clothes and other extraneous items down for the most part, but there are always going to be supplies of different sorts that you will need to buy for your home, for your classes, and for birthdays and holidays. So be sure that you know exactly how much you can set aside for all of those.
- Document all other expenses.
On top of all of your other budgets, you’re going to need to give yourself a daily living budget. Even if you cook most all of your meals at home, you’re probably going to want a few bucks here and there for snacks and drinks each day. You’re probably also going to need to pay for random items like parking and coat checks. No matter what your daily expenses might be, make sure that you have a budget for yourself and pay close attention to it.