The Best Budgeting Tips For College Students

“60% of college students report saying they use budgets while in school.”

Being in college can be super fun while being fairly pricy at the same time.

For most people, college is the first major step towards being independent of their parents, and it could be your first task into what the world has to offer.

Whether you have everything all figured out right after you graduate college, or you’re just drifting around trying out new things, the subject of money is going to be a major impact and focal point in your next chapter in your life.

Being as young as high school graduates are, most young adults just don’t have the cash reserves or the income saved up to live on comfortably, even if you’ve worked in the summers and school years beforehand.

Unless you had someone give you the money you need to survive and thrive, which I think is kind of like cheating the system, you’ll have to resort to more resourceful tactics to be able to get some extra cash.

So without further hesitation, here are the best budgeting tips for college students.

1. Spend Less Than You Make

Whether you're working full time, part-time, or even not at all, it’s essential that there’s less money in your possession than there is coming in.

I like to think of good money management like a bucket of water. Every month, you have a certain amount of water (money) coming in and when you spend money, your scooping water out of that bucket.

So when you're scooping all your water that you have out, it defeats the purpose of even having a bucket in the first place.

When you spend less money than you have to come into your bank account each month your balance will always be growing and the numbers will always be positive, giving you the much-needed cash to be able to fund your college experience.

Although it may seem like it’s an easy concept to implement, it can be quite difficult.

Paying for things in plastic is a great way for your expenses to get out of hand. When you pay with plastic, so either a credit card or a debit card, you don’t feel the loss as hard as you would if you were paying in cash.

When you pay in cash, you physically see and feel that money leaves your hand, which your brain will register as a greater loss than the numbers in an account that isn’t right in front of you.

Paying in cash and spending less than you make is the best first budgeting step that anyone in college will benefit from, and is going to pay off tenths-fold in the future.

2. Keep Track Of Where Everything Goes

When you’re looking to have more money on hand, it’s absolutely crucial you know every place where your money is going, if not it’s like trying to fly a plane blindfolded.

When you know where your money’s going, you can identify the best places to be able to cut down on.

An easy place to start knowing where everything goes is to simply right each of your purchases out every month and then split those purchases into categories that reflect the most important, to least important.

When you identify what’s most important over what isn’t, you’ve found what you’ve gotta dump overboard, no matter how small the purchase was.

Cause like the saying goes “A small leak will sink a big ship”

3. Ditch The Eating Out

This one I was a sucker for. For years now people have been saying that eating out isn’t worth it and I never ever believed them, until one day when I got curious and decided that I was going to check it out.

What I found blew me away. I came across an article that went through the true prices of everyday McDonald’s menu items, and I know these businesses have to make money too, but the amount of markup that they have is quite astonishing.

First off, the cost to make a Big Mac was around 1.25 and usually retails for a price of 8.99, with most of they’re other products sharing the same markup.

This alone goes to show just how profitable it is to be selling quickly made food. Not only is it a real steal of your money, but eating out is also quite unhealthy and you won’t be doing your body any favours by eating burgers and fries often.

Being young and being in college means you have the ability to grow and take care of your body when you’re older. Your future self will thank you ten times over if you pack your development with good healthy food instead of junk.

Your wallet will also thank you for saving all that money.

4. Shop Cheaply

Regardless of what everyone has to say, you don’t need fancy and expensive stuff when your first starting out in life. Especially if you’re just starting out in the world.

When you in college and you want to have more money, your first objective is to SAVE MONEY, this means no useless stuff that doesn’t provide any significant value to your life.

An example is Apple AirPods. All they are, are wireless headphones that have been around for years but have a brand name slapped on them with a 400$ price tag.

I love listening to music too, but I’d never pay 400$ dollars for something that a 60$ set would do the same trick.

Brand name stuff always costs so much more, strictly because of the brand on it nothing else. It’s okay to have brand name stuff, but when you’re trying to save more money it should be at the absolute bottom of your things to buy list.

Another great place to get what you need to thrive in is the dollar store. You can find everything you need, from college supplies to toothbrushes and toothpaste for prices that you won’t find anywhere else.

Because let’s face it, college supply stores have absolutely stupid prices and are basically a rip-off.

5. Sell What You Don’t Need

No matter what all you have, there’s going to be something you have that will have a value that someone else will buy.

So, when you’re in college and are cash hungry, starting to sell what you don’t need could be considered the next level up.

Opening an eBay store and buying some shipping supplies from the dollar store cost very very little, making it very affordable for college students to start.

From old video games and movies to mugs and antique blankets, there are people who will buy anything and everything.

College also provides an opportunity at the end of each year that goes super well with eBay reselling.

Each and every year, as more and more college students come in, more and more of the older students are moving out and it’s these older students that provide the opportunity.

It’s not shocking to find that you accumulate a lot of junk when you’re in college and many students just don’t have space or the energy to take it all with them when they leave, so lots of stuff gets either sold locally before they leave or just plain old left.

Leaving you the opportunity to swoop in and make a profit.


No matter where in life you are, being smart with your financial choices is always going to be the best move you could ever make. This is especially true if you're taking your first steps into the world.

Although college can be an extremely awesome time, it’s going to end up costing usually more money than you would have ever imagined before.

Throughout this article, I detailed 5 quick budgeting tips to be able to help save and make you more money in college. From keeping track of your purchases to selling your stuff, there’s at least one that anyone will be able to do.

If you liked the article, please feel free to share it with your family and friends as it helps me out a lot.

Until next time,


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