As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management, including smart budgeting and debt management steps. The Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants offers this tip to students for getting through college in the right financial frame of mind.
Start a Budget.
You may be surprised at the high everyday costs of college, including books and supplies, daily living expenses and travel to and from school. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a sense of what you will spend—outside of tuition costs—before you begin each semester. Include savings you plan to use, any money you may receive from your family and the income you can expect from any jobs. According to a national survey, the average student income is about $1,400 a month from part-time jobs and parents. Semesters usually last about four months, so divide your projected total to determine how much you can spend each month, after deducting the amount you can expect to pay for books at the beginning of the semester. It’s also a good idea to track your actual spending throughout the semester, so that you can more accurately project and adjust your budget for the years to come.