The Student’s Guide to Budgeting in College

Why Is a College Student Budget Important?

According to the College Board, the average debt level of four-year college graduates in 2019–20 who took out student loans was $28,400. Additionally, in a 2021 Sallie Mae report, the average amount of money borrowed through credit cards by students was $1,309.

How to Budget in College: 4-Step Guide

Follow the steps below to learn how to budget as a college student and save money.

Step 1: Break Down Your Total Income

The first step to making an effective college student budget is breaking down your income. Your income each term may be influenced by three factors, according to the Federal Student Aid Office:

Step 2: Assess and Categorize Your Expenses

To assess your financial situation, log in to your bank or credit union’s website. Here, you can review your spending and earnings over the past month.

Step 3: Crunch the Numbers

Now that you’ve organized your expenses, it’s time to crunch the numbers. Start by adding all your expenses together. Then, subtract that number from your monthly income.

Step 4: Create a College Student Budget

Now that you’ve calculated all the numbers, look through your expenses to see what items you can adjust or cut from your list.

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