Being in college is basically code for being broke these days. Unfortunately, saving money isn’t always an easy thing to do while we’re balancing tuition, housing, food, textbooks, and other expenses. But settling into good money habits now will infinitely help us in the future. That is why I searched the web for the best college budgeting strategies and am now sharing them with you!
>> Review your expenses
- Look over last month’s expenses.
- Determine your spending habits – what you are spending the most on, important purchases, etc.
- Consider separating your purchases into categories, like ‘food’ and ‘bills.’
- Now that you are more conscious of your spending habits, you can start developing a plan.
- Decide what goals you have for budgeting – how much you are trying to save, how much you can spend, what purchases you previously made were unnecessary.
>> Find what works for you
- There’s no one right way to budget. Try out one (or all) of these ideas to find what’s right for you:
- Graphs or charts
- Bank or simple budget apps
- “Envelope” budgeting – allocating money in envelopes for certain things and not spending once that money runs out
- Something unique to you!
>> Stick with it and track your spending
- Now that you have a tool to budget, it’s time to get tracking!
- Stick with your spending limits or goals and monitor carefully to make sure you are staying on track.
>> Adjust based off your experiences
- Once you get started, review your progress and adjust based off of what seems to be working best for you.
>> Don’t give up!
- Most importantly, don’t give up! Keep working at it until budgeting becomes a habit rather than an annoyance.
I hope these strategies help you as you begin to create your own college budget and track your expenses. Although budgeting isn’t a fun thing to do by any means, it will truly teach you how to spend money wisely and leave you in a better place when you enter the real world and have to worry about a lot more spending. Good luck and keep working at it!
Casey is a college junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying journalism and strategic communication. Casey enjoys chocolate, horror movies, and Netflix binge-watching. She swears she’s normal(ish).