Paying For School: How To Budget For Out-Of-Pocket CostsGoing to school is a big step and it is important to be financially smart about it. Developing a budget is important, especially if a student is working with limited funds. Personal banking services can be a great place to start organizing money and seeing just how much is available each month. Then, developing a budget is as simple as analyzing expenses and factoring everything in!
Understand Tuition Isn’t the Only Cost of Attendance
Developing a budget is as easy as breaking down costs and deciding what is affordable. The problem many students have is that they tend to see tuition as the only thing they need to budget for. The truth is that every detail needs to be analyzed before creating a budget. If a person overspends in one area, they won’t have the funds to cover everything.
Develop a Budget for Housing
Housing is a pretty straightforward expense. If a student is staying on campus, they will likely know their total cost of housing before arrival. Staying in an apartment or renting a home can be a little trickier. Not only will the student need to budget rent, they will also have to consider average utility costs, maintenance fees, and parking costs.
Decide How to Eat
Some schools offer a meal plan that allows students to easily budget their money. If the student doesn’t want a meal plan, they need to budget for weekly groceries. They may also need to invest in cooking tools, plates, and other supplies before moving to campus.
Budget for Entertainment, Transportation, and Other Fun Things
While tuition, housing, and food are typically the biggest expenses of an on campus student, there are many more costs to consider. Transportation and gas is a great example, especially if the student is planning on buying food at a grocery store, rather than on campus. Here are just a few small, easy to forget expenses that can easily add up:
· Movies, streaming services, or read more cable television
· Soap, shampoo and other hygiene products
· Going out with friends
· School supplies or printing costs
Save for a Rainy Day
When planning a budget, never try to spend every penny. It may be tempting to add another $10 to the entertainment budget, but having a strong savings account is important. Emergencies happen. For example, a student’s car could break down right before their final exam. If they don’t have money to call a cab, their grade is going to suffer.
As a general rule of thumb, students should have at least two months’ worth of living expenses in their savings accounts. This should be enough to cover small emergencies and provide temporary support if there is a snag in financing.
For students who are still a little lost when it comes to developing a budget, talk to a personal banking service in Leominster. They can help provide the services students need to be financially successful.