The Importance of Budgeting During College

When high school students enter college, they are often challenged by how to manage their money. For many, it is easy to be overwhelmed at the start, especially when they have concerns about housing, the cost of tuition, travel, and food. Experts recommended that students create a budget plan per month to manage their income, expenses, and savings. On average, students spend around $3,201 to $4,471 on outside expenses [beyond tuition, books, etc.] (Think Impact, 2021). A monthly budget plan can help many young students better manage where their money goes and how to make informed decisions on what they spend their money on. According to Tessa Cooper, a writer and editor that focuses on education and lifestyle,creating and following a budget often improves financial decision-making and increases financial security and peace of mind” (Affordable College Online, 2021).

William Woo, an economics graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discovered that he spent about $4,000 on outside expenses, such as ordering food and online shopping. Also, on average, he spent $21,250 on school-related expenses per year, but he had financial aid and scholarships that assisted him with these costs. Woo advised that new students should “write down their expenses, eat out as little as possible, and make sure to find the PDFs of textbooks and communicate with your professor whether or not the books are required” (Woo, 2021). Another student from the University of Illinois, Alec Foster, spent $6,300 on school expenses with the help of financial aid and scholarships. He also spent $3,500 on outside expenses. Foster encourages incoming freshmen to “apply for the smaller scholarships because a little goes a long way. Also, try to keep your GPA high, because it allows you to get more scholarships, go to community college, and to create a separate account for your rent and don’t touch it because you don’t want to be homeless” (Foster, 2021). Planning how you spend your money is important, especially during college. Amanda L. Grossman, a financial education instructor, explains that it’s the difference between you being able to launch into your life after college, or having to live off of your parents/a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc (Frugal Confessions, 2021).

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