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3 Tips for Successful College Budgeting

College is a great life experience. It can also be expensive! Beyond tuition and books, college costs may include rent, food, gas and clothing, along with social activities and outings.

How can college students avoid overspending and make their money last all semester? It all starts with creating and following a budget!

Budgeting doesn't have to be complicated. A budget is simply a plan for how you want to save and spend your money. No matter where you are in your college journey, learning how to budget is a valuable skill that will help you throughout life.

Here are a few simple budgeting tips to help make your college experience a little easier:

Use an online budgeting tool or app

As a busy college student, budgeting might be the last thing on your mind. Luckily, there are many online tools or apps you can use to budget on the go. Try Money Management, a free service of Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) Mobile and Online Banking. This helpful digital tool makes it easy to build a custom monthly budget that works for you.

Track every dollar you spend

Monitoring all your spending will give you a clear picture of where your money is going — and where you want it to go instead. You can use Money Management to track every dollar you spend and categorize your expenses. Maybe you're spending more than you realize on morning coffee runs or late-night pizza delivery. Consider cutting back on these non-essential purchases to help you stretch your budget.

Take advantage of free events and activities

Saving money in college is easier than you may think! You might be surprised to learn how many fun and free activities your school provides, from sporting events to comedy shows to movie nights. It's also a good idea to show your student ID at stores and restaurants. Many retailers offer special discounts and deals for students, especially if they're located near a college campus.

Looking for more money-saving tips and tools? Check out our online Education Center for great resources to help you learn about the basics of smart money management.