How to Budget As a College Student

The text discusses the importance of developing good habits now, in order to avoid debt in the future.

How to Budget As a College Student

College budgeting is not the most exciting or romantic part of college. It's important to learn how to budget, just as much as you do in school.

According to College Board, the average student's living costs can range between $19,000 and nearly $29,000 annually. These latest estimates are based off of 2019 figures. Consider the impact of recent

Inflation trends

You may spend more on housing, food, and other consumer products.

It's easy to spend too much money when you are living on your own. You may also be juggling new classes and friends. This can lead to unnecessary stress. Learning to budget while you're in college can help you avoid future problems, such as graduating with an unmanageable debt.

Credit card debt

You'll reap the benefits of good financial habits for many years.

Winnie Sun, managing director of Sun Group Wealth Partners, Irvine, Calif., says that establishing a budget can empower you. You're not only practicing life skills, but also establishing boundaries.

Here are four simple steps to help you budget your money as a student.

Calculate your monthly income

Budgeting for college students begins with figuring out how to pay for all of your expenses. You need to determine the amount of cash that each potential source of income will contribute to your budget.

The two most common sources of income for first-time students are student loans and grants. Nearly 90% full-time undergraduate students relied upon

Some kind of financial assistance

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 2019 and 2020. Nearly a third (33%) of undergraduates are in this category.

Accept federal student loans

According to the Education Data Initiative (EDI), each year, there are approximately 1.2 million students in public schools.

It's important to note that living solely off of student loans could be risky. You might consider working even if your financial aid will cover all of your living and tuition expenses. This way, you'll have some extra money to spend.

Sun says that there is a widespread misconception among students that they shouldn't bother working or earning money during college. When you manage your money and time better, you will find that working can be a great way to start building your network, and gain valuable life and work experience.

The majority of students depend on multiple income sources to cover college costs. In the school year 2021-2022, the average college student will have a total of $4,517 in their bank accounts.

Covering school expenses

Sallie Mae's study suggests that you can fund your education using the following strategies:

Contributions (income and savings of parents): 43%

Grants and Scholarships: 26%

Contributions (income and savings of students): 11%

Student financing (student loans, credit cards, etc. ): 10%

Parent financing (Parent PLUS loans, private loans, etc. ): 8%

Contributions by relatives and friends: 2 %

Scholarships are the second most popular source of income for students, but they are often overlooked by families. In 2021-2022, 60% of students received scholarships. The money covered an average of $6.300 in expenses. Two-thirds of students who did not receive scholarships didn't even apply.

  1. Anticipate expenses

Think about the expenses that you may face as a student each month. This can help you divide your cash more easily.

The cost of living can be affected by whether you live on campus or off, if you own a vehicle and many other factors. Cost of living may also vary depending on where you live.

The average annual cost of

Common college expenses

According to the Education Data Initiative, the school year 2021-2022 will be the most expensive in the next decade.

Tuition ranges from $9,400 (in-state tuition for public institutions) for four years to $38,000 (private four-year institutions).

Textbooks and Supplies: $600 to $1500

Room and Board: $8,600 - $13,000

The EDI states that in addition to the standard living expenses listed above, an average four-year student pays between $2.800 and $5.300 per year for additional expenses. You'll need to budget extra money for things like transportation and insurance (auto, health, etc.). You can also add streaming subscriptions to your mobile phone bill.

It can be difficult to keep track of everyday expenses, such as entertainment and dining out. You can set a budget for the amount you are willing to spend on these categories.

Budgets aren't about cutting back on things. It's not just about saving money. Instead, your budget is there to help you succeed and ensure you have enough cash for the things that matter most to you.

Sharita M.Humphrey is a Houston-based business and financial coach. It's like a roadmap that changes over time to help you better manage your finances.

Plan your savings

You should not only include your expenses in the budget but also save money. Savings, even in a small amount can help you avoid financial debt as a student and in later life.

You should add your savings into your budget just like you would for any other recurring expenses. Consider automating your saving goals. Some banks have this feature in their online or mobile accounts.

Matt Gromada is the head of Chase Bank's family banking. He says that saving without thinking is the best way to achieve a goal in future, such as a spring vacation or an upgrade to a laptop. "Set it and forget about it."

A solid emergency fund will also be essential when it comes to saving. Saving three to six month's worth of expenses is the classic rule. This amount may be too high for some college students. It's okay to go outside the box when it comes to your emergency fund if your tuition, board and room are covered.

Dan Rooker is a Chicago-based consultant at Student Loan Planner. He says, 'Anything's better than nothing.' Start with a small amount and build up to the cash cushion equal to the number of expenses you would incur to find a job in case you lost yours.

Cash in a safe is a great way to store your money.

High-yield Savings Account

You can also make your money grow more quickly. You may also find that keeping your emergency funds separate from your regular savings account reduces the temptation to spend it on other things.

You might want to reconsider your mindset if you believe that college is not the right time to begin thinking about retirement. If you have the means to save money early in life, it can bring many benefits.

Chris Browning is the Los Angeles-based host of the Popcorn Finance Podcast. He says that if you ask anyone older than 30, they will always say that they wish that they had started investing earlier for their retirement. "That's because time is your best tool to reach your retirement goals."

Imagine what you want

You can retire with $1 Million in your retirement fund

When you reach 65. According to the experts, if you wait until you are in your senior year (usually 22 years old) before investing, you will need to invest $220 per month assuming an annual return of 8%.

Retirement calculator by

If you begin investing at the age of 18, it will only take you $160 a month to achieve that same goal.

Make adjustments

You may need to adjust your college budget after you have written down your income, expenses and savings goals. This is a part of the college budgeting process.

Sallie Mae reports that according to more than half (54%) of families, they have taken at least one step to reduce the cost of college. The vast majority of families (76%) have also increased their income in order to pay for college costs.

Humphrey says that budgets will always change. It takes time to learn them. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't work out the first time. Budgets are great because you can adjust them as needed.

If you are trying to balance your budget, there are several ways to make college affordable. Some students cut back on spending or apply for additional scholarships. Some students work part-time, participate in work study programs or freelancing to earn extra income. Others take courses at a community college to prepare them for university.

Even in the 10 years since I graduated, college has become ridiculously expensive. Browning says that it is understandable for college students to have to make difficult financial decisions. If you have already reduced your expenses as much as possible, doing a few part-time jobs during the semester can give you breathing room.

You can use the financial planning tool once you've created a plan that you think will work.

Budgeting Apps

During college and after graduation, simplify your money management process. Set up alerts for your checking or savings account.

Student credit cards

You may also benefit from using (if you do).

Avoid overspending

Late payments and other financial errors.

Browning says that most of us don't realize we're overspending unless we check our credit card or bank account balance. This isn't done often enough. Spending more time on your finances will help you stay in control.

Remember to be gracious when creating your first college budget. Nobody is a master at managing their money on the first try.

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