Heading off to college or university is a big milestone and a time that's filled with lots of excitement, and anxiety. Just like with most things in life, it pays to be prepared.
Studies have found that those who have a strategy for financial health save more money and are financially healthier. To avoid overspending, make sure you know what's coming in vs. what's coming out by tracking your spending to the dollar.
5 tips for an A+ on your student budget:
1. Make a budget and stick to it
Making a budget with the help of this student budget template is easy, sticking to your budget can be difficult. In the next points, I will show you how to make sticking to your budget simple.
2. Put yourself on payroll
If you’re funding your expenses through a student loan, stay within your budget by paying yourself on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis from your loan. By paying yourself on pay day, it will be much easier to gauge your spending and you will gain real-life experience in pay day excitement.
3. Put money aside for your necessities first
Consider this scenario. You check your bank account before you leave for the night and you see you have a few hundred dollars left. What you’re forgetting is that you haven’t paid for that utility bill yet.
You will avoid this by putting the money for bills in a separate place. Sometimes we’re in a rush and make mistakes, but segregating your money is a great way to ensure you’re never unintentionally tapping into your bill money for fun.
4. Track and review your weekly spending
A budget means nothing if you don’t follow it. Put all your purchases on debit, or keep your receipts. Take a few minutes every week to see how well you’re sticking to budget. Don’t forget to make any necessary adjustments.
5. Draw a clear line between wants and needs
A 2:42am burrito isn’t filed as a grocery item. A late-night burrito is perfectly fine, if you have money left in your “Take Out/Order In” category from the budget template above.
Budgeting doesn’t mean restricting all spending to $0. Follow these tips and you will mitigate the stress of finance in your already stressful life. A good budget reflects what you can afford, or in some cases, what you are comfortable paying back once your university or college education is complete. Most of all, your well-planned budget makes your financial health better.