College Budgeting 101

  • by SavvyMoney
  • 10/25/21

Budgeting tips for college kids

Budgeting during college is just as important as studying. It’s a vital component of your adult child’s newly-independent life. If your kid is about to enter the higher education world, here are some tips they can use to make budgeting a big part of their life.

Make a List

One of the first things your college student should do when creating a budget is to list every expense. As US News notes, this list should be quite long. Some items that should be included: Housing, transportation, groceries, internet, phone, entertainment, clothes and more. And not just the monthly ones…but the ones that come more often.


When it comes to listing out expenses, the best course of action for your kid is to overestimate the costs. While it’s easy to calculate fixed costs — like rent or the phone bill — it can be a little trickier with variable expenses. For variable expenses, have your kid add up three months and find the average. Then always go a bit over whatever that number is. It’s much better for your kid to end up with more wiggle room in their budget than to be constantly coming up short.

Be Flexible

Explain to your college kid that a budget is not a static thing. Just like life, a budget constantly changes. Stress to your kid that they should constantly revisit their budget and be prepared to make adjustments. The more they pay attention to their budget, the less likely they will be to end up in over their heads.