Dr. Mary Ann Campbell, CFP® = "Dr. MAC"

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Budgeting 101 for College Students

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Feel out of control with your spending?  Dread working more hours or contacting the bank of Mom and Dad for more money?   Then budgeting might be the perfect skill to develop to help you get back on track and in control.

A budget is a guide to help you live within your means.  If you learn to do it now and continue when you graduate from college, you’ll increase your financial independence, particularly if you build savings into your budgeting.   

If you are frustrated with your current cash flow, then commit to making changes and using tools to get you where you want to be. 

Getting Started with a Budget:

  1. Document your income.
  2. Outline your fixed expenses (i.e. transportation, housing) and flexible expenses (i.e. food, entertainment). 
  3. Set up a category for saving, even if it’s $1 a month to establish the habit. 
  4. Outline your needs vs. your wants and prioritize them. 

Determine which of the following budgeting tools works best for you:

  1. Paper and a pen
  2. Budget books (that you can purchase online)
  3. Online resources (i.e. Excel budget templates, Dave Ramsey’s budgeting forms)
  4. Financial software (i.e. Quicken, AceMoney, You Need A Budget -YNAB)
  5. Personal Finance Apps (Mint.com, Expense Manager)

All these tools improve awareness and reduce mindless spending.

Budgeting will help you reach your financial goals.  The magic comes from you, and you can do it! 

I wrote this for the CollegeWeekLive newsletter this month.  Check out their website for great information on colleges and information to help you adjust and prosper.

2 Responses to “Budgeting 101 for College Students”

  1. Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was
    inspiring. Keep on posting!

  2. Thank you, Mitch.

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