Creating a budget for your college expenses is crucial. It helps you understand which expenses are unavoidable and where you can cut back on so that you do not have to take out unnecessary loans.
Budgeting is crucial, as is factoring in all expenses into said budget. You’ll need to take into consideration tuition fees, food and living expenses, textbooks, and travel but there are a few commonly overlooked expenses that are actually substantial enough to derail your carefully created budget.
Don’t wait until after the semester starts to budget for these college expenses. These expenses are part and parcel of college, so put them into your budget right at the start:
Depending on the course you have enrolled in, you may need to invest in additional software or other programs to work on your assignments.
Through the course of the year, you are going to need additional pens, paper, notebooks, and other assorted stationery items. For some courses, such as architecture and visual arts, the cost of additional stationery could be substantial.
If you are living away from the college campus, you will have to pay to get to college every single day. This could be the cost of public transportation or rideshare programs if you don’t own your own vehicle or the cost of gas if you do.
If you are planning on driving your own car, in addition to paying for gas, you will also have to pay parking fees—either for meters or yearly parking passes.
Even if you are on a meal plan, it is not likely to be enough. You will want to keep a few snacks and emergency meals handy for those days when you are hungry in-between meals or so busy that you do not have time to go to the cafeteria.
Whether you live in an apartment or the college dorm, wearing clean clothes is going to cost you per laundry load. Some colleges give students a certain amount of “free” loads, but you should still budget for it just in case.
Socializing is part and parcel of college life and even if you just go out on a coffee date once a week, it will cost you.
Individually, each of these costs may be small but over the course of the year, they can add up significantly. If you don’t budget for them, you could be in for a nasty shock.
Tips For Creating Your Budget
The best way to create a budget that will work without creating additional stress is by first adding up your available funds and your projected expenses. Your expenses must necessarily be less than your income to avoid having to take any more loans.
It may be difficult to project how much you will spend on the extras in advance but if you start tracking your expenses as soon as the semester starts, you will get a better idea of what you can cut back on and you can adjust your spending accordingly.
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