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.
Get the necessities.
Once you know your income, determine a list of expected expenditures each month. Be sure to remember the difference between wants and needs. Textbooks and supplies are clearly mandatory, but weekend trips, nights out and new clothes are not. Even a car can quickly drain your resources if you’re cash strapped. Feed the Pig, the CPA profession’s financial literacy site aimed at young people, recommends recording every time you make a purchase so you get a good sense of where your money goes. Then categorize all the items, to see if you’re spending as much on morning coffee as you are on weekend entertainment. These steps allow you to understand where you might need to cut back or reconsider your spending choices. If you’re honest about your real necessities, it will be easier to create a workable budget, and find ways to save.