Personal Finance for College Students

Unit 2: Create a Budget

Surviving College on a Student Budget

As a student you will have irregular income, so it becomes important to budget your money.  Budgeting will help you prioritize what you spend your money on. In order to create your budget properly you'll have to ask yourself some tough questions.

  • Is it more important that you have cable television or internet access, or can you afford both?
  • Can you afford to buy a used car with the help of a student auto loan and if so can you afford the car insurance?
  • Do you have travel insurance for your many trips home?
  • Do you have a saving account in case of an emergency?  

With a few simple steps you can quickly manage your money and prioritize expenses:

  • First, decide the time frame for tracking your income and expenses.  Will it be weekly or monthly?
  • List all of the income you have coming in from work, allowances, or gifts, then, total all your income.
  • You need to make categories for each of your expenses.  Divide expenses into fixed and variable expenses then total your monthly expenses. 
  • Subtract your total expenses from your total income.  If the number is negative, you need to go back and adjust some of your variable expenses until the number is zero. 
  • Step back and evaluate your budget to determine if your spending is too much or too little to meet your priorities or your financial goals.

Download PDF: Setting Up A Budget - Part 1

Download PDF: Setting Up A Budget - Part 2

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