Manage your finances
Preparing - and sticking to - a budget can positively affect scholastic performance. Start building a budget by filling out weekly expenses in the Weekly Spending Diary Worksheet #1 (Excel Format) or (pdf)
Buying on credit
While credit does not generate wealth in a budget, it allows for extra time to make a purchase. A good rule of thumb is that if credit purchases can’t be paid - in full - within 30 days, the purchase should not be made. Planned debt, such as student, computer or car loans should, however, be included in a budget.
Understanding cash flow
Cash flow is defined as the movement of cash into, through and out of a budget. Student budgets usually have an irregular cash flow, especially for large expenses, such as tuition and fees. Planning is essential to ensuring there are sufficient funds to pay for monthly expenses.
Prepare an annual budget
Complete a budget over the recommended 12-month (May to April) period by downloading Worksheet #2 (MS-Excel Format) or (pdf). Include summer earnings to provide a more realistic picture of the available resources at the start of the school year.
Not all revenue sources shown on the spreadsheet will apply to students. A blank revenue line was added to worksheet #2 for income sources that may have been excluded. To forecast income, it’s best to be as conservative and as accurate as possible.
Expenses must be reported monthly. Weekly expenses should be multiplied by 52 and divided by 12. For example, $50 per week on food: ($50 X 52 weeks)/12 months = $217 per month.
Tuition fees and books
A conservative estimate of the cost of books and materials in the first month of each semester for a full course load would be $800.
Review the budget
After total monthly revenue is calculated, fill out expenses and balance figures for every month by filling out the Personal Budget Worksheet Annual Summary. Download Worksheet #3 (Excel Format) or (pdf) to determine whether there is sufficient annual revenue to meet all your expenses and the monthly balance. A negative monthly balance or negative cash flow indicates that the month's activities should be adjusted.