So, you’ve decided to head to college, university or trade school in your near future. Now what?
Back in July, we covered the best ways to prepare your finances for college. You’ve familiarized yourself with student loans, applied for scholarships and even opened your own Student Advantage account all online. You’re set right? Close.
Once you’re at school, on top of worrying about getting a foot fungus from not wearing your flip flops in the dorm shower or how much dirty laundry you can fit into your suitcase for a trip home, you may have to think about having enough money to pay for stuff.
When you’re preparing for education beyond high school, it’s important to look at budgeting for the school year, month by month. Break down all income from a part time job, parental contributions, scholarships, loans or other funds and total that up on a monthly basis. Look into what your major and minor expenses will be; either a monthly or annual basis, like tuition. There will be other costs such as books, lab fees or equipment, and other school fees. Take into account your transportation costs, whether it’s vehicle expenses, including parking, fuel and insurance – or even public transportation, all of it costs.
Living expenses like rent, utilities, phone and internet might be easily determined for ‘hard costs’ for the month, but things like entertainment, clothing, or personal supplies will crop up and must be taken into account in your budget. Look at your income and expenses and responsibly give yourself envelopes of money for each category and stick to spending no more than what is in the envelope. If you don’t, that’s when you end up eating ramen for three weeks straight.
Take a look at Encompass Credit Union’s page on Student Advantage Educational Financing and the online application process, including a downloadable Student Budget to help you through one of the most exciting times in your life.