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A Typical College Student Budget

written by: chesanekc•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 5/14/2010

Being in college can be stressful when you really consider what your budget is. Many college students have a lot more expenses than they even realize and should be budgeting themselves even better than they currently are. Here are some ways to help you understand your budget.

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    College will probably be one of the best times in your life, however it can be hard to budget at times. What is a typical college student budget anyway? What are the things that a student in college needs to spend money on?

    When you are thinking about your budget there are a few things you need to consider, such as income, expenses, and luxuries. Lets first start with income. There are many college students who have part-time or even full-time jobs that they attend to, while others don’t have jobs at all and really just rely on their parents help. To determine your income, think about where you get your money. Do you work or do you rely on the help of your family? Do you have student loans, scholarships or financial aid that are paying your way through school? Whatever it may be, you need to determine how many sources of income you are receiving in order to really understand how much money you have.

    Now comes the fun part: determining the expenses. You may be surprised at all the money you have to shell out every month (or that your parents have to pay for). So in order to understand your dues, here are a few examples to go by:

    • Room & Board or Rent (If renting- utilities, appliances, etc.)
    • Phone bill-whether it be the telephone you use in your dorm or your cell phone
    • Food- many students who live on campus already have a meal plan taken care for them, however if you pick up other food for yourself or you do not have a meal plan than you need to make a grocery list along with prices
    • Transportation- you may be lucky to walk everywhere you go, however many students are and they need money for either a bus, cab or their own car. If you have your own car, determine it’s cost to you by adding up the gas prices, car payments and insurance
    • Tuition-this may already be taken care of, however if you are paying for this on your own you need to know how much you are paying
    • Books/Computer fees
    • Credit card bills

    Now that you have compiled a list of your expenses, make another section for your “luxury.” This can include anything that you feel is more a treat than an actual necessity. Some examples include:

    • Dinging out
    • Entertainment: movies, concerts, etc.
    • Clothing shopping
    • Types of spa treatments-manicures, pedicure, massage, hair cut or color

    Every college student is different and thus their budget can vary, however there are a lot of typical budget features for every college student. Why many of them have their tuition and dorm room paid for, others have to pay for it all on their own. All college students are different, however their budget is usually fairly typical with one another. They have to worry about paying for school, room and board and having fun. Each student just has a different source of income as the other.