The Ultimate Broke College Student Budgeting Guide

The Ultimate Broke College Student Budgeting Guide


What Every Broke College Student Needs to Know

It is one of the most prominent stereotypes when it comes to life on campus and college living. Any college student can benefit from the following college budgeting tips.

Keep your budget simple

You are in college, and the last thing you need is to stress about figuring out your budget while trying to figure out how to survive college life. Therefore you don’t have to go into great detail in your budget. That complex stuff will come later in your life.

Here’s how to set a simple budget for college.


Set a budget for either a month or the whole school year.

Take into account your income and your expenses. Your income may change and expenses will not be the same each month; make sure to include the larger expenses (textbooks, tuition, etc)


Record everything that you spend in a month.

Yes it is time consuming, but this will show you where your money is going and you may find a few surprises such as automatic payments you forgot to take into account.

Also record all of your typical daily expenses. One of the biggest budgeting mistakes is to undervalue the money that you spend day to day.

After you record your daily expenses you can shed some light on where all of that money is going and your spending habits.

Fun cushion

For unplanned fun, a little extra money cushion (or a lot extra if your tendency is to live on the edge) will be needed.

Emergency cushion

This is mandatory when setting any kind of budget, period.

Medical bills will happen and you don’t want to pull the needed money from your budget!

  • Put money in the emergency fund every 1st of the month
  • A good emergency fund covers three to six months of your expenses

Avoid the Campus Bookstore

Unless the required text can only be obtained at the college bookstore, it’s best to just avoid the college’s expensive prices. Instead try searching for the required textbooks through a textbook rental service or buy them cheap second hand.

Forget the Car if You Live on Campus

Car care costs can be surprisingly high for broke college students without much cash flow. The current high gas prices are no surprise though and put even more strain on college students who drive.

If you can set an honest budget for yourself, avoid getting ripped off unnecessarily at places like the campus bookstore, and make some sacrifices like giving up driving if you live on campus, then you are well on your way to surviving college as a broke college student.


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Categories: College Budgeting