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Learn to Budget Like a Boss - Create Your First Budget in 4 Easy Steps

Have you sat down since school started and figured out how much money you will need to get through until the end of the semester? By now, you probably know how you are going to pay your tuition/fees, books, and room/board (if on campus). But, what about everything else?

Budget Like a BossCreating a budget is one of the best ways to keep track of what you have and what you need. As a college student, this may be your first budget, so here are a few tips to help you on your way:

1. Track your spending

You won't know what to put in your budget until you take some time to track what you spend. Keep track of everything you spend (even if it's something small) for a week or two. Use our #BudgetBoss Budget Tracker to help you track your spending. You can downlaod apps to your phone to help you with this too. 

2. Make a list of your income and expenses
Calculate how much you earn every month. Include money earned from your job, work-study, financial aid disbursement and parents. Categorize your expenses into categories like food, vehicle (payment, gas), school, entertainment (movies, iTunes), personal (clothing, hygiene, makeup), phone, etc. Create a miscellaneous category to catch anything that doesn’t fit the others.

3. Balance
Are you spending more than you earn? If so, you may need to rethink your spending habits or find additional income. Look at your flexible spending (monthly costs that fluctuate) to see if you can find ways to save a few dollars (fast food, impulse buys). 

4. Make changes if needed
Your budget may evolve over time. Make adjustments as needed. If you are spending more than you thought you would, look to adjust your spending. On the flip side, if you are earning more than you are spending, take that extra money and put it in a savings account.

 

Carrie Johnson, PhD, AFC, Personal and Family Finance Specialist

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