Budgeting 101: A Student's Guide to Financial Success

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Budgeting 101: A Student's Guide to Financial Success

You worked hard all summer to ensure you have spending money when you arrive on campus this year, so why not make sure it will last?

Creating a Budget

Take the time to figure out which budget method is going to work best for you. Don’t worry if you’ve never made a budget; we’ve got you covered with these budgeting tips for beginners.

The first step to any good budget is to make categories based on your wants and needs. Then, decide how much of your current savings you want to align with one or more of your wants and needs. This will help you determine how much additional funds you need to save or if making a steadier income might be needed. It's important to be truthful with yourself when distinguishing between genuine needs and optional wants.

Easy Ways to Make Money in College

Okay, so you put together your budget and realize you are definitely going to need some more cash to have the college experience of your dreams.

Here are a few things you can do to earn money:

  • Grocery store cashier
  • Dog walker
  • Hostess or waitress
  • Part-time bank or credit union employee
  • Gas station attendant

Don’t have the time or transportation for an off-campus job? Consider looking for an on-campus job opportunity such as:

  • Tutoring
  • Working at the bookstore or library
  • Ball running/scorekeeping for athletic events
  • Working the front desk at the gym
  • Admissions assistant
  • Food service employee

3 Money-Saving Ideas to Try

Maybe going the employment route isn't for you with your loaded class schedule. Let’s talk about ways to save money.

  1. Groceries
    • Saving money on groceries can be one of the easiest ways to add money back into that budget. Don’t worry—we’re not telling you to eat instant ramen for your entire college career: there are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget.
  2. On-Campus Services
    • Using what’s on campus for things like coffee, the gym, laundry and event entertainment is an easy way to save money. Your school's student activities committee should have a calendar of events posted for the entire semester so you can plan ahead.
  3. Student Discounts
    • A lot of places offer student discounts on things like food, drinks, laptops, streaming services and so much more. Take advantage of these discounts so you can use that money for something fun.

Getting a jump start on managing your finances in college will help create good habits post-graduation. Plus, making a budget at the beginning of the school year could leave room for a much-needed spring break trip!

Get a jump start on budgeting

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