College is the time to learn important life skills that will set you up for success in all areas of life. It's unlikely you have a class on how to budget your own money, and starting a budget can be daunting. To ease this process we have put together a starter budget for you to download, and have listed some tips on how to better approach making your own personal budget.
Click HERE to download our Microsoft Excel Example Budget for students. Once you've downloaded the document you can edit the different categories and amounts to better reflect your needs.
Know your income: Start off by estimating your monthly income. If your income is inconsistent, try taking the average of the last three months income. This should include all sources of income you have (full-time and part-time jobs).
Live within your means: First calculate all your bills and other required expenses (necessary for you to live). Subtract this amount from your income. This will tell you how much spending money you have.
Periodically check how much you've spent: Compare your spending with what you've planned in your budget. You can have excel add up your expenses for you, or add up all your costs in their respective areas yourself.
Know your needs versus your wants: You can't spend money you don't have. Sticking to your budget may feel constraining at times, but it will build your self-discipline and make your life easier in the future.
Have a plan for every single penny: Every cent of your income should have a designated category it goes into. At the end of the month see if you have any money not spent, and either put that extra money into savings, or add it to what you can spend in that category the following month.
Plan Ahead: Figure out next month's budget BEFORE that month has begun. Know how the upcoming holidays, school breaks, family events, and other such factors will affect your spending in the upcoming month.
Start saving: Plan ahead for your future by having a few savings categories. You can keep all of this money in one savings account, but by having multiple savings categories in your budget, you'll become aware of how much money you've put towards different areas. Examples of savings categories to have are: emergency fund, maintenance fund, gifts fund, etc.
Make necessary adjustments: Everyone has unexpected expenses come up occasionally. Know if you're pulling that money from your savings, or if you'll be lowering how much you spend in a different area that month.
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