Part 4 of Graduating! Now What?
Saturday, June 15, 2013
by JULI SHULEM
Before taking off for college, it is very important for you grads to start learning how to budget your time, and how to budget your money. These two subjects will serve you very well for the future.
The summer is a very good time to learn how to budget your money if you haven’t gotten a handle on that just yet. It’s not just a matter of making sure you have a dollar left in your account at the end of the month. You need to determine, with your parents, how much spending-money you will have, and create a budget for all your expenses. To run out of funds in February would be quite frustrating.
Keep in mind expenses such as:
- Going out with friends for pizza or a latte
- Eating on campus, if your dorm-meal plan doesn’t cover all meals or if you cannot get back to there on certain days due to your schedule
- Haircuts and grooming products
- Extra school supplies you may run out of, including electronics replacement parts
- Unforeseen school expenses
- Clothing you may need, cards, and gifts
- Club or activity costs, including dances, parties, etc.
If you are working this summer, which most students do in order to make enough for a spending allowance during the school year, save as much as you possibly can. Going crazy with spending this summer could backfire, if when you need the funds you don’t have them. How much should you estimate? Conservative estimates for costs not including car insurance, cell phones, books, and dorm or college fees are around $300 – $600 per month. If you work over the summer you should have enough to cover yourself for the school year, if you manage your money well.
If you haven’t been using a calendar or a time-management system, start now. High school was pretty easy to schedule – you were in classes five days a week from about 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., then you studied, etc. That’s not the case anymore. You will benefit by setting up a system in your computer and learning how to use it properly before classes begin. Even if your classes switch around and your schedule changes, you will be better prepared to handle it if you start out organized.
Things you will need to schedule:
- Meals. When are they offered? When can you take your meal breaks based on your class schedule?
- Study sessions. Are there study sessions with the professor’s teaching assistant, in addition to the lectures?
- Meetings. If you belong to clubs or membership groups, when are meetings? Dorms have meetings too.
- Exercise. When will you work out?
- Work. If you have a job, what hours can you schedule?
- Study. When and where will you read class materials, write papers, study for exams, etc.?
- Chores. When will you do your laundry?
Your first year of college will be much more enjoyable and less complicated if you get a good start on these skills now, rather than having to learn all this the hard way, in addition to the changes moving away for school brings. Good luck and congratulations!