If you’re heading off to college later this year, you should consider putting together a plan to track your spending.

Creating a college budget can help you see where your money is going each month and teach you how to manage your finances. Here are some important tips to create and maintain your college budget.

Building your budget

  • Overestimate your expenses: Spend less than your expenses to have money left in the bank.
  • Underestimate your income: It’s better to have money left over than a shortage.
  • Involve the family: Figure out how much of your income will come from a family source. Make sure to have a family discussion to determine any financial decisions.
  • Build your emergency fund: Plan for unplanned expenses while you are in school. This may include living off campus or job search expenses such as new clothes for interviews or travel to job fairs once you’re out of school.

Managing your budget

  • Record your expenses: Carry a small notebook or keep a spreadsheet to note your expenses.
  • Create a routine: Regularly record your spending and manage your money. If you can’t keep track every day, try recording your expenses on a weekly basis. But make sure to keep up with it … If you go too long without recording, you may miss transactions.
  • Categorize your expenses: Label your expenses into specific categories such as “transportation,” “food,” “savings” and “housing.” Any expenses that may not fall into a specific category may be labeled “other” or “unusual.”
  • Spending on little items adds up: Review small items such as buying a daily cup of coffee or lunch every day. You could save even more if you manage and reduce some of those extra expenses. Instead of buying food or drinks every day, try packing your own lunch or even making your own coffee each morning.
  • Make your financial aid last: If you have funds left over after tuition and fees from your financial aid, make sure to budget the remainder of the money over time for education-related expenses such as textbooks. Don’t spend it all in one sitting.
  • Use your credit card wisely: If you have a credit card, be responsible, and remember to budget for any credit card payments you may have.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.