Adulting on a Budget: College Student Edition


Alexis Harvey

College is already hard enough. Challenging classes, picking a major, and basically forcing young adults to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. This is their first time on their own and for many students, their first time paying to attend school.

There are a select amount of students that are fortunate enough to attend college without having to pay for it while some students aren’t as lucky. Whatever the situation might be, most college students are struggling to budget their money properly. 

Coming to college is such an exciting experience and most students want to experience everything possible, but with the fun comes a cost. 

Whether it’s going out to eat with friends on a daily basis or buying a concert ticket, most students don’t realize how much money they’re spending until it’s gone. 

One minute you’re celebrating life as a brand new adult, and the next your rent is due and you have $12 in your bank account. That’s when it hits you: adulting is a lot harder than anyone could have anticipated. 

Budgeting is something everyone has to learn. Take these things into consideration when learning how to budget as a college student:



PRIORITIZE! PRIORITIZE! PRIORITIZE! This is probably one of the most important rules when it comes to budgeting. College students have a lot of expenses. Whether it’s paying for tuition, rent, food, bills, or other expenses, the average college student is often struggling to pay for these basic needs. 

Yes, we all want to spend our hard-earned money on things we want, but paying for heating in the middle of winter should be a top priority. Learn how to put money aside for these necessities.


2.Put aside extra spending money

After paying off every bill and buying essentials some students feel like they’re left with nothing. 

This is where budgeting comes in. When learning how to budget properly, make sure not to forget about treating yourself from time to time.


3.Consider getting a job

A lot of students in college have jobs. Whether or not they pay for education, a job in college is always a good idea. 

Not only does it provide extra spending money, but it also teaches important life skills. 


4.The “50/20/30 budget rule”

The 50/20/30 budget rule is something everyone should follow, especially college students. 

Popularized by Senator Elizabeth Warren in her book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan,” she explains how following this rule is the ultimate way to learn how to budget money. 

This basic rule is to divide up expenses three ways: Spending 50% on needs, 20% on wants and putting away 30% to savings. This rule is an intuitive and simple plan to help students reach their financial goals.