College Cramming: How to Work Out Your First Budget
For college students, creating and maintaining a budget is a vital part of having a successful college experience. Now that you have entered college for the first time, a realistic budget can mean the difference between success and failure in the real world. The following measures can help ensure you don’t find yourself running short of funds during the college year.
Estimate Your Expenses
The first step in creating an effective budget is to determine what your fixed and flexible expenses will be. Fixed expenses are those items such as tuition, housing, and basic eating costs you must spend every month. Flexible expenses are those expenses that may vary from month to month such as fuel, entertainment, and textbook costs. Only by determining these costs can you be certain of knowing how much money you will need on a monthly basis. Calculate each section and leave a little wiggle room for emergencies.
Determine Your Monetary Resources
Your monetary resources will include your savings, student aid, grants, or any employment income you may obtain. Ideally, your income will exceed your expenses over the course of the school year. This is especially important if you are supporting yourself, as you will be unable to request loans from your family. Your income may vary over the course of the year, especially if you only work on a part-time basis, or obtain some of your income from student grants and loans.
Balance Your Income and Outflow
If your income exceeds your expenses, congratulations! However, in most cases you will find yourself having to make budgetary decisions in order to pay all your bills. Your first priority must be in paying any fixed costs, especially those that are vital to your continued school attendance. After that, you should prioritize any flexible expenses. Luxuries such as your entertainment and travel budget should always be cut before necessities such as textbooks and lab materials. Consider cooking your meals at home, rather than eating out to further reduce your expenses. You can look for resources on campus for saving money on other costs like transportation as well.
Find Outside Income Sources
A college often has a wide range of seasonal and Calgary part-time jobs for students. In addition, these jobs are often designed to work around your class schedule. For example, joining or creating a student works painting company can be an excellent way to enter a career with flexible scheduling and salary options. This flexibility can help avoid having to choose between your job and academic work. In addition, working while you are attending college can help improve your resume. This can be very importance when seeking to enter your career after graduation.
Maintaining an effective college budget is an important rite of passage. By doing so, you can prepare yourself to effectively handle your finances during and after your college years. In fact, by developing and maintaining your college budget, you can help ensure that your collage experience is both pleasant and educational.