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Budgeting as a College Student

1.    Make Lists of Needs versus Wants

It is imperative that your needs are covered before any of your wants. List out everything you NEED to pay for regularly like bills, tuition, and groceries. Then make a wish list of things you WANT to buy if you have money left over after taking care of your needs!

2.    The Rule of Highs and Lows

Be in the mindset that you might make less income than anticipated and that you might spend more than you plan to. Plan your budget by thinking you’ll have a lower income, and a higher expenditure! It’s better to have more saved in your budget than to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have enough capital to cover your costs.

3.    Categorize Your Spending

Organize your needs and wants into categories like Dining, Household, and Entertainment. Also, make sure to include a Miscellaneous category! Sometimes you need to pay for things that are irregular or unprecedented. Be sure to dedicate 10% of your budget for this kind of miscellaneous spending!

4.    Make a Savings Plan

Look at your income, the total cost of your needs, and then choose an amount to put aside into savings each time you are paid! For example, if you make $75 per week, and you plan to spend $50 on expenses each week, then put $25 into savings! Think of these savings deposits as a type of expense in terms of budgeting, so you have no excuses to spend everything you earn all at once!

5.    Have an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund is a wise investment for anyone so that you can have funds to fall back on in the case of an absolute emergency! Most people recommend having about $1000 in this fund to cover any unprecedented but necessary spending!

6.    Come up with Goals

If your favorite band is coming to town in a few months or if you’re tired of being stuck on campus and want to invest in buying a car, it is important to set up a separate savings plan to reach your goal in a reasonable time frame! Put aside the same amount each pay period to reach your goal in time! The most important part of this plan is to think ahead!

7.    Keep All Your Bills and Receipts Organized

Keep any bills or receipts together and organized by category! It will help if you file them monthly in an accordion folder to make tax season a little less hectic!

8.    Review Your Budget Monthly

Reflect on your spending habits, income changes, or a change in your goals and adjust your budget accordingly each month. Many banking apps have budget planning features which can help you keep up with your budgeting habits!

9.    Pay Cash for Small Expenses

Take a little cash out and give yourself an allowance each week to make smaller purchases. You’ll be more aware of how much you’re spending than if you use a card!

10.    Forgive Yourself

Sometimes you will overspend, and that’s okay! Just adjust yourself and plan more leeway in your budget for the following month!

Emily Macdonald

Oxford Emory '18

As a Political Science Major and a French Minor, I have big dreams of making a positive difference in the world. In 2017, I had the incredible honor of being named Co-Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at the Oxford College of Emory University alongside Marine Bruno. Although I graduated from Oxford College, I will always have fond memories of my time with Her Campus. Even as I move on to a new phase in my life, I look forward to watching Her Campus at Oxford Emory grow!
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