College: How much money do you think you need
for your first year?
Most likely, being that
you are headed off to school in a week or so, your
tuition, room and board, possibly a new computer, books,
and transportation have all been paid for. So how much
additional money do you think is needed to survive your
first semester, or furthermore, your first year?
As it turns out, you might need a significant amount
extra for things like toiletries, printer cartridges,
furnishings for your dorm room, school supplies,
entertainment, and food outside of your dining hall.
Whether your parents are helping you out with your
finances, or you have a part-time job, this is a great
opportunity to learn how to budget your money.
You may want to begin by discussing with your
parents, or deciding for yourself, how much is needed on
a weekly and monthly basis. Your first month or so of
school is an ideal time to experiment with this. That
way, once you realistically decide how much you need to
comfortably get by, you can budget accordingly. Using
AIE's in-school budget worksheet
you can get a realistic look at your semester and
monthly financial picture.
On average, schools estimate that you can expect, and
figure into your budget, an estimated cost of $500 per
semester for books alone, and an additional $1,000 to
$2,000 for other personal expenses on average, for the
year. You will most likely need to open a checking
account for your basic needs if you don't already have
one, as well. If you do decide to get a credit card,
it's best to get in the habit of using it responsibly,
and only for emergencies, so that you don't let your
spending get out of control and incur any debt.
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