Budgeting advice for your college-bound student

Note: This post was written by Jennifer Sanchez, Marketing & Communications Intern for Money Management International. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys brushing up on her budgeting skills and watching The Bachelorette — sometimes simultaneously.

There are many different financial factors to consider before you head off to college. The amount of details that can go into budgeting can be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that planning and research beforehand can really help you make the most of your finances and budget.

Do your homework. Make sure you are aware of all costs associated with attending college. Before applying for a particular school research tuition, fees, and room and board. This will give you an idea of exactly how much you will need to attend school.

Assess your current financial situation. Did you receive a scholarship? How much do you have in savings/bank account that you can use? Do you have parents or family that will contribute to your tuition/living expenses? Will you be taking out student loans to help pay for college? Will you need to find a job while going to school? Will you be getting your first credit card? A simple budget worksheet can help you keep track of your expenses.

Weigh the pros and cons of on-campus living. Carefully consider each option and what will work best for your personal situation. Make sure to research different prices with your school to find which solution is most practical and affordable for you.

  • If living off campus, you have the possibility of living with roommates and splitting rent, utilities, and expenses. This can bring up furniture and moving expenses. This also brings up the added expense of traveling to campus, gas, and parking expenses.
  • If deciding to live in a dorm or on campus- consider the option of a fully furnished room. This will provide you with the basic functional pieces you need- and you won’t have to worry about furniture, moving costs and expenses. There are plenty of great budget decorating tips for your dorm available online. Living on campus also helps you cut transportation costs, as well as the added savings bonus of getting an on campus dining plan.

Decide how you will get around:

  • Consider public transportation. Check out bus schedules, light rails, even walking or taking a bike if you’re close enough to campus. This will help save on on-campus parking permits, gas, and car maintenance/repairs.
  • Network and find students with similar schedules, and carpool together. This way you can split the costs of parking permits.

Do you have any more frugal living tips to help college students? Share them in the comments below!

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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