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Creating a student budget plan is an important step every student can take to assess his or her financial wellness. A college student budget can help you keep track of your expenses, analyze your assets and income and set financial goals for yourself.

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And whether those goals are short-, medium- or long-term goals, a personal budget plan will help you reach them. Use the steps below to help you create your first student budget plan.

Ask yourself the following questions to help determine your current income and savings status:

  • How much do you have in a savings account or other bank account that is readily available for your use?
  • Do you have any savings bonds that you can cash?
  • How much money do you anticipate saving from high school graduation gifts or other sources this year?
  • How much money after taxes do you anticipate saving from a summer job?
  • How much money will your parents contribute to fund your living expenses?
  • How much will you earn from work-study or another part-time job?

Once you’ve gathered your asset information together, you can determine your monthly budget. To do this, add all of your fixed assets together. Then take your monthly figures and multiply those by the number of months you anticipate earning them. When you add those figures together and then divide by the number of months in your school year you’ll get your monthly budget. Confused? Don’t be, an easy real-world example follows:

  • Say you have $250 in a savings account and just received a total of $500 in graduation gifts. You anticipate making $750 after taxes per month for June, July and August. Multiply the $750 by 3 months and your total is $2,250. Your parents also promised they’d pay you $200 per month for the school year. So multiply $200 by the 10 months of your school year for a total of $2,000. To determine your monthly budget figure you would simply add all of those figures together ($250 + $500 + $2,250 + $2,000 = $5,000) and then divide that total by 10 months ($5,000/10 = $500 per month).

This hypothetical $500 will be your monthly budget during the school year. And that will become your fund for paying all of your expenses.

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Once you start thinking about all the little details, it’s really easy to see where your money goes. But it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it might feel at this moment. In fact, creating a college student budget can help you feel more stable and it’s easy to track your expenses in about a month.

The third step in creating a college student budget is to analyze your assets and expenditures to figure out how you can have it all, or how you will eliminate what’s not necessary.

After going through the process of creating a student budget plan or personal budget plan many people realize that they actually don’t have enough money to pay for all of their expenditures.

The bottom line is that you are in control of your financial health. A student budget will keep you on track and help you realize your goals. If you find your expenses are more than your budget can handle, a student loan or a credit card can help you make up the difference.