Entrepreneurship University
A Course in Personal Financial Planning

Students: Budgeting

The following suggestions are from Citizen’s Bank. For more, see About’s lessons on Credit and Debt Management and Budgeting 101.

Of course, these days tuition costs dwarf other costs that you may be able to manage. Good budget practices can help in softening the blow.

From creating a budget to learning how to stick to it, these nine simple student budgeting tips can help boost your savings potential.

  1. Create a budget. This is an important step towards becoming financially responsible and helps you reach your savings goals.
  2. Know your habits. To create a budget you first need to know where your money goes. Keep track of all your expenses for a month. Use a student budgeting worksheet or computer program (like Excel).  
  3. Get it together. Most of the information needed to draft a budget is readily available. Collect pay stubs, tax returns, utility bills, credit card statements, loan statements, receipts, insurance bills, etc., to help get you started.
  4. Do the math. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to add up your total income and subtract your total expenses. Your expenses shouldn’t exceed your income.
  5. Avoid the red. If you notice that your expenses do exceed your income, you’ll need to look for ways to cut back. Obviously, you still have to pay your bills, but try making small sacrifices now that will put you in a much better position in the future.
  6. Wants vs. needs. It’s really important to know the difference between wants and needs when budgeting. Things like utility bills, food and gas are important expenses that you need to pay. Eating out at expensive restaurants is a luxury.
  7. Reward yourself. It’s important to include paying yourself in your budget. Each month, set aside some money that you put into a savings account to reward yourself with something fun.