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Budgeting for College Expenses

Budgeting For College Expenses -Two Female College Students on Bicycles on Rural Path

Are you planning for college? Getting a college degree is great investment, but it does come at a significant cost. In addition to tuition, there are a few other expenses you’ll have to plan for. While it may seem daunting, don’t let the cost prevent you from getting a degree. By planning ahead and putting money into an education savings account as soon as you can, you’ll put yourself in a better position to handle your college expenses. Budgeting for college expenses will make it even easier.

Already a College Student?

If you are already in college, you might know the biggest college expense items. Or, you may be moving out on your own for the first time, or into a different living situation. You may need to reduce your expenses to make it work.

Five Expenses Items to Budget

So, what are the major college expenses? There are five for which to budget:

  1. Room and board: Colleges offer a variety of dorm room options and meal plans for students who live on campus. If you’re planning to live off campus, you’ll have to budget for rent and your own food. View for COCC and OSU Cascades.
  2. Books and supplies: These expenses just keep going up. Books and supplies can cost between $1,200- $1,500 per year at a 4-year public college. To reduce expenses, buy used copies or see if they’re available to rent on Amazon or Chegg .
  3. Appliances and Equipment: You’ll need to get a laptop, but probably not a printer. Ask your college if they have printers available to students. If you’re living in a dorm room, you’ll need lamps, sheets, towels, a vacuum, a microwave, and a small refrigerator. If you’re living in an apartment, you’ll also need a bed, plates, cooking utensils, etc.
  4. Transportation: Owning a car is generally the most expensive option. You’ll need to pay for gas, maintenance, insurance, and possibly parking. If you can bike or walk to most places and use public transportation, you’ll be able to save here.
  5. Personal expenses: This includes everything else you’ll buy, like your cell phone service, money for the laundromat, haircuts, entertainment, etc. These expenses can really add up, so look hard at what you can do without, and what you can adjust.

It’s Work, But Worth It

Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a pain, but it will truly make your life in college easier. It’ll keep you on track financially – and when your finances are under control, you have one less stressor in your life.

Plan ahead for these expenses and use a budget to keep expenses under control. You’ll not only come out of your college experience with a degree, but financial skills you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.

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