Staying on track with your college budget is crucial. Your budget is both your financial planner and the tool that tracks your money. It will help you plan how you allocate funds, enable you to plan for the future, and empower you to take control of your finances.
It’s one thing to make a budget, but actually sticking to it is another thing entirely. You don’t want your budget to be a static document, so you’ll need to continually track your expenses and income and adjust your budget so it’s accurate and helpful. Below, we’ve created templates you can use for tracking your financial life.
Budget Advice for College Students
Before we dive into these budget tracker templates, here are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind while using them:
- Don’t be too strict. When you start using a budget, you should think of it as a guide to begin seeing how your finances take shape. You need to remember to be flexible. You’re going off of estimates when you get started, so set reasonable limits and adjust as needed. Remember, this tool is a framework meant to guide you.
- Find a system that works for you. We hope the templates we’ve provided below are helpful! You’re welcome to convert them to a spreadsheet like Google Sheets or hand write your budget out in a notebook. Whatever works for you.
- Schedule time to review your budget. It’s really easy to skip tracking your budget, because there are no immediate, obvious consequences for doing so. Set aside an hour at the end of each month to go over your budget. How much did you spend that month? Were you on target? Do you need to make changes? This time will definitely be worth the investment in the long run! Plus, once you get into the swing of tracking things, you’ll have a great financial habit that will serve you well throughout your life.
|Financial aid (after tuition/fees)||$200|
|Rent (if off-campus)||$0|
|Groceries (in addition to meal plan)||$50|
|Student loan payment||$250|
Having a checking account makes tracking your finances much easier.