Finance101: Budgeting for College Students

Authored by ROBERT BLAKELY, CFP®, AIF®, CHFC®

Budgeting for College Students

Your spending habits now impact not only your current well-being but forge the path for long-term future spending. Managing money and setting spending goals may be the last thing you want to think about after a busy day of classes, playing sports, and spending time with friends. But developing good habits now is worth the effort. In today’s blog, we would like to share our thoughts on how to think about your spending habits and create a budget that you can live with.

Studies have found that students who observe spending limits and savings goals early are less stressed when it comes to money and many have nest eggs when they graduate. Setting a budget does not need to be daunting and complicated.  Begin with the following:

  • Identify Your Expenses

Know the cost of room and board, textbooks and school supplies, and transportation. Add in any clothing, entertainment, laundry and food expenses.

  • Track Your Spending and Cut Back Where You Can

Keeping an eye on how you are spending your money does not need to be stressful. With the many on-line tools today like Mint and Left to Spend, you can easily pay attention to what money you have coming in and what money you have going out. Monitor this and see where you might be able to cut back. Perhaps you find that you are not utilizing your full meal plan. Next semester cut back to the lower plan. Buy used textbooks; purchase a coffee maker instead of those expensive coffees; cook for yourself; cancel memberships like Apple Music and use free services like Pandora. Even the smallest changes can bring big results.

  • Look Towards the Future

As you budget for your current expenses, do not forget that when you graduate, you will have certain goals and perhaps large expenditures like a car or a new apartment. Begin saving just a little every day and put it in an account that you will not touch. You will be surprised by how fast that account will grow and by doing this, you will be in a good financial position going forward.

By forming a healthy relationship with money and setting spending goals now, you will build a very strong base for the future. Allowing yourself to look at life after college and working towards those future goals will make it easier to manage as you move forward in your life.

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.

ROBERT BLAKELY, CFP® is a financial advisor with BLAKELY FINANCIAL, INC. located at 1022 Hutton Ln., Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262. He is the founder and president of Blakely Financial, Inc. celebrating 25 years in business.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.