How to make the most of your budget in college

Life is full of surprises. Maybe you have an opportunity to take a trip related to your field of study, or you’ve dropped your laptop. Since you want to be sure you have money available when you need it most, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Stick to a budget. Living away from home means that you have the opportunity to manage your own finances. Plan how much you are going to spend each month and stick to it as much as possible. Use a free resource like Wells Fargo’s My Money Map or other resources like Mint.com to see where your money is going and keep track of your expenses.
  • Save. Create a savings account that you don’t dip into unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even if you can only afford to set aside a few dollars each month, every little bit helps. Here’s a list of ways to save while you’re in college.
  • Increase your income. Look into getting a part-time job to supplement your income and gain valuable professional experience while you get your degree. Start looking for your summer job early to secure employment for when you’re not in school.
  • Keep track of your financial aid. Some scholarships require renewal each year or may be dependent on academic achievement. Others are only a one-time gift. Make note of how much you are borrowing in loans, when they need to be repaid, and whether you need to find additional funding for next year.
  • Ask for help. Talk to your parents, a guidance counselor, or another trusted mentor. Managing money can be challenging and intimidating, especially if you’re new at it.

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