get financially fit for college

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Create a college budget

Whether your parents will be supporting you financially or you opt to get a part-time job, it’s crucial for you to learn how to budget now to be better prepared to manage your own finances in the future.

Determine fixed and variable costs

The first step in developing a college budget is knowing what costs you will incur. Fixed costs, which do not fluctuate often, can include tuition, rent/room and board, car payments, car insurance, and parking fees. Variable costs, which vary from month to month, can include entertainment, gasoline, food, utilities, hygiene necessities, clothes, car maintenance, books, phone bills, and/or club dues

Identify sources of income

Once you know what your fixed and variable costs are, you need to determine if your income, including your pay from a part-time job, allowance from home, grants, scholarships, or loans, will cover the costs. If your estimated expenses exceed estimated income, then find ways to reduce expenses or increase income.

Choose the right bank account

Many banks offer student checking accounts with no minimum balances or monthly fees and savings accounts that can be used as overdraft protection for the checking. If you are going away from home for college, you might want to find a bank close to school to maintain easy access for deposits and withdrawals. You may also consider finding a bank that is located in your hometown and the city of your college to ease conducting transactions while in and out of school.

Learn how to balance a checkbook

If you’ll be using a debit card or checks, it’s imperative that you keep your receipts or record the transactions as soon as they are complete to avoid spending hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees when you spend more money than you have in your bank account. It might be a good idea to download an app from your bank and enroll in mobile banking.

Keep looking for scholarships

Visit your college’s financial aid office. Many colleges and universities have scholarships available to students already enrolled in classes, or they can direct you to the scholarship opportunities for current students. Every dollar helps, and you’ll be grateful for anything you can save towards your future after graduation.


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