The first word a student should learn before going to college is frugality. The second item on the agenda is to understand your finances and seriously manage your expectations. Going to college without the intention of setting a budget – and sticking to it – is a recipe for financial disaster.
How do you know what to budget for? Some things will be easy because you will know your cost of tuition, your accommodation and you can make reasonable guesses for how much to allow for food – try to budget for more than mac and cheese and ramen noodles. The rest can be a bit of mystery – study materials, extra-curricular activities and entertainment are essential expenses but they need to be controlled.
As illustrated below, if you use a simple percentage method, you can make a budget that is workable and manageable.