Learning to manage your finances while in college can help you to master the art once you have left college. Living like a student while you are in school will ensure that you don't have to live like one once you have left.


A budget can help you manage your money no matter how little, or how much, you may have. Over a period of time it will help you to manage your spending so that you are in control, not the money. Make it a tool that will work with your lifestyle. Use a computer (there are many free budget worksheets available online), or put it down on paper, whichever works the best for you.

  • use cash not credit cards when purchasing disposable items such as food and entertainment (remember that student loans are for educational expenses)
  • carry less cash with you so that you won't be tempted to buy things on impulse
  • try to steer clear of ATMs as many have fees which can add up if you are not careful
  • record all debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals in your check register
  • find a job that works with your class schedule - there are many part-time and work-study positions which can give you enough money to borrow less and create less debt, or use the extra money to make loan payments while in school

Click on the images to watch parts 1 & 2 of developing a spending plan



Cut down on Expenses

  • share costs with a roomate or two
  • reduce utility usage as much as possible - water, heat, electricity, phone
  • check weekly ads for specials; clip coupons
  • make meals at home instead of dining out
  • don't buy more than you will use
  • use your U-pass, take the bus or train
  • carpool
  • if you do own a car, shop around for the best deal on insurance
  • watch for sales
  • buy at the end of the season when things are discounted
  • shop at resale, factory outlet, discount and thrift stores - but pay attention, the prices are not always lower than retail
Cell Phone
  • be aware of hidden charges such as early termination of service
  • keep track of your minutes and check your bill when it arrives so that you aren't charged for extra minutes at a higher rate - if you fall well under your limit, you may want to change to a less-expensive plan
  • be aware of charges for text messaging
  • Stay in - cook dinner with friends, rent movies, etc
  • Use the library, it's free! Check out books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, etc