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Budgeting Tips for Your College Semester

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Winter break is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things this spring semester.

Whether you’re in your final semester of classes or just starting out, it’s never too late or early to think about your financial future. Planning for your future includes budgeting for certain things. Here are tips to help students make sure they’re financially prepared for this semester.

Overestimate Monthly Expenses - It’s better to end up with a surplus at the end of each month by overestimating your monthly expenses.

Expect the Unexpected - Prepare for the unexpected by setting a saving goals to build your emergency fund. 

Assess Your Spending - The daily cup of Starbuck and soda out the vending machine will add up. Instead of eating out every day, consider packing your lunch.

Use Credit Cards as a Last Resort - Very carefully think before you decide to get your first credit card. Is it necessary, or could another form of payment work? 

Having a specific goal in mind is important when planning a budget. Start by making a list of needs and wants and find out what’s important to you. Do you want to save for a spring break vacation or new computer?  In addition, budgeting will help you cover unusual expenses and plan for changes that may happen while you’re in school. Below are few unexpected things you should consider when thinking about your budget.

Living Off Campus - Planning to move off campus? Short-term budgeting goals for the year can include saving for the rent deposit or furnishing your first apartment.

College Internships - Looking to start an internship next semester? Reevaluate your budget to save for buying new clothes to wear to work and paying increased transportation costs.

Parking Tickets - You’re running 15 minutes late to class on the day of a quiz, and you park your car in the closet available spot. Class is over and you walk out to a $50 parking ticket in your windshield. Planning for this can help it not be a burdensome cost.

Life After Graduation - You may be graduating school next year, and in that case, budget for job search expenses that include résumé preparation, travel to interviews and job fairs, and professional exam fees. Something to also consider, think about how you will manage your money between leaving school and finding a job—this is an instance when an emergency fund can be handy.

Do you have any other tips to financially prepare yourself or others for a semester at school? Share them here!

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Categories: Money Smart Kids , Smart Spending
Tags: Debit Cards , Kansas City , Lawrence , Topeka , Wichita

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