College is such a new, exciting experience. If it’s your first time away from home, it can be equally exciting or maybe even nerve-wracking. You’re thinking about all the things you have to figure out on your own: getting up for class, feeding yourself, taking care of your expenses. Learning how to budget in college can truly benefit you as a student and in your future adulthood.
TFC has helped many college students in the last 20 years, whether it’s been through an auto title loan or our Financial Innovation scholarship that we offer. TFC Title Loans is a great place for college students to seek help because we take people with low or little credit and work with our customers to establish monthly payments. Here’s how to budget in college:
One of the most important factors of creating a budget is finding a system that works best for you to keep track of your money. One of the most popular ways to keep track of a budget is by using an Excel spreadsheet. The columns and inbuilt formulas make it simple for you to create different columns that keep track of the income versus your spending.
Another great way to keep track of your budget is through different apps like Mint, Expenditure, and iReconcile. Some apps may cost money, but there are different ones that are free. You may need to put in the individual spending expenses, but it will break down the months, weeks, and days to different categories of where your money goes.
Breaking down your expenses into categories will help budget how much money you’ll need. Expenses that stay constant or have due dates tend to be your “fixed expenses”, which include:
When you want to budget your more flexible spending, which can sometimes include food or gas, set a base amount or maximum amount you want to spend on that expense. Sometimes you may pay more on gas than you planned if you’re taking different trips places, or maybe it will be less one month because you didn’t get to go anywhere. That’s why it is best to create a set amount so you’re prepared either way.
Plan for your income to come from all different types of places. If you plan to have a job, think about how much you’ll be getting based on the hours that you’ll be available to work. Figure in your scholarships, loans, or other financial aids. Even include freebies that you may expect from birthdays, holidays or monthly grandparent visits that put $20 in your pocket.
Balancing your budget will be able to analyze how much of your income you will have after all your expected expenses. For your loans, scholarships, or maybe parental help, immediately factor that in for your tuition or school supplies. That way, you’ll have an idea of how much out-of-pocket will be going to towards the remaining expenses you’ll have.
Plan for frivolous spending, splurging and treating yourself. College is supposed to be enjoyable and you want to be able to go out, get a haircut, buy coffee, go out for dinner, and other fun activities that happen on campus. Another important expense to balance is an emergency fund. If you find you have a little extra left over for the month, consider saving it. Your parents may not be nearby to pay for an emergency if something happens. Planning for car troubles, hospital visits, or even an apartment fix will help you with your frivolous spending budget.
Sticking to the budget can be hard, especially if you’re not used to it. But, it will help you in the long run. Getting used to it will help you in the remaining years of college and into adulthood. As you get older, you’ll have more to pay for and learning how to budget now is something you may not learn in your general education courses.
Stick it out for a month-long trial. Keep note of any expenditures and adjust your budget accordingly. You may find that you feel a little less stressed being able to see the entire month planned out for you. It gives you an idea of all the fun activities you can plan for. Now you know how to budget in college!
If you ever run into an emergency that you didn’t plan for, TFC can help you out. If you have a clear and free title on your car, you can use that title as collateral for a loan. Anywhere from $2,500 to $50,000, TFC can help you with an emergency fund that your parents can’t make it in time for. We provide you with your funds in as little as one business day, where it may take parents a couple of days to a week to get to you. Take some of the stress out of your new college life, and trust TFC with your financial dilemmas.