Before you start your college experience, you should sit down with your family to set up a realistic budget that you can stick to outside of just tuition and fees. When setting up a budget you should think about things that you absolutely need versus things that you want.

As a college student you will need to incorporate items such as room and board, campus travel, and books among other things. It is also important to recognize that your lifestyle may not be the same once you become a college student since your parents won’t be providing for all of your expenses.

The first step that you can take to creating a personal budget is through tracking your expenses for a month. From here, you can come up with estimates that fit into a student lifestyle and ways to help you to save money. If you have variable expenses you may want to estimate those items higher in your budget to be prepared at all times.

Analyze how your monthly expenses match up with your monthly income to determine if you are spending more money than you are earning. If you are spending more, you will need to re-evaluate your budget or find a job to help you generate income.

If you are not planning on working, then divide any funding or refund that you receive for your education by the amount of months in the semester to help you stay on track. Also, make sure you set money aside and continue to save for a rainy day.