Baller On A Budget – The Typical College Student Budget

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If you’re in college already or headed that way this fall, you’re probably aware that being a student has it’s financial challenges. Most people day dream about arriving on campus in style with an endless budget that consists of daddy’s black card or mommy’s monthly donation. If this is your reality, than you make up for about 7% of the typical college student’s financial situation.  


Lucky you – for reallzzz…  

However, if you’ve landed in with the other 93% of the nations college student budgetary restriction plan than welcome to our post about college budgets – things are about to get real.


Day dreams are nice but the reality is: 
college is expensive. 


That means what you take and what you need to get by on each month all revolves around your college budget. We’re not going to teach you how to use excel, but if you’re technically savvy with that program you may want to open it up and start typing away your expenses.

First things first…  Break up your expenses into different types of costs.  For example, tuition,  course materials, phone, rent, laundry, transportation and food.

Below is the typical amount one can expect to spend each year on fixed costs during college:

  • Tuition = $12,000 – $18,000
  • Course Materials = $800 – $1,300
  • Phone = $800 – $1,200 
  • Room & board = $1,500 – $3,500
  • Laundry = $500 – $1,000
  • Transportation = $600-$1,500
  • Food = $6,000 – $9,000
TOTAL = $21,400 – $35,500

If you’re a visual person, here’s a pie chart to put it into perspective.  




The number may or may not shock you. The good news is you can now begin to build your road map (a.k.a. budget) of what your expenses are going to be each month. Rolling you into the second part of budgeting 101 which is… How to allocate funds appropriately. 

How You Can Adjust Your School Fees: 

Although tuition isn’t an adjustable rate, you can break up your class fees by balancing out the times you register for each of them. Depending on what class you’re taking, fees vary. So, adjusting your schedule around to match your budget restrictions is a smart place to start. Instead of taking all of the expensive classes at once, sign up for one or two and then take two or three less expensive classes.

How You Can Manage Your Course Materials:

Although new books and materials for your classes are nice, they aren’t always necessary. Book rental programs are a popular alternative and cost a lot less than forking over $100-$200 per class on new items. A few book rental options are Chegg, BookRenter, and if you’re attending a campus that has a Barnes & Noble bookstore [lucky you ;0)] they too offer text books you can rent. As for your materials, you can buy refurbished mac laptops on amazon.com as well as other products if you’re a gadget guru. For super savers – pens, pencils and everything that fits into a small case can be bought cheaply at places like OfficeMax or Walmart.

How You Can Adjust Your Phone Fees:
If you’re not already on a family plan, make one and expand your data usage program. Since you’re moving away, the first few months tend to be eaten up on making calls back home if not vice versa. Expanding your data plan before you head to school will avoid any penalty fees you may incur if you go over.

How You Can Manage Your Laundry, Transportation & Food Expenses:

Although these are all essential costs, they can be managed a lot more easily. Limit your laundry sessions to once a week and sign up for a food card at the colleges cafeteria. Also, agreeing to one day a week if not one day every two weeks to go out and play can help you effectively manage your expenses in these three categories.

The last suggestion I can provide is – if you have the time or your wallet needs the help, check out the college board listing for part time positions. The companies that advertise on them are going to be more lenient on working around your class schedules and will most likely be good referrals (so long as you are a good employee) for when you land a full time job. It’s all about baby steps folks! Every bit helps get you where you need to be and if the extra cash boosts your one time a week play time fund to two or three, then you really have nothing to lose!

Good luck and budget ON!  As a Dorm Room Movers Author, feel free to leave your comments about any additional college budget tips. 


Peace,

Miki

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