College Finance 101: How to make it to graduation without student debt

Extra Curricular Activities

Establish Your FInancial Goals or How to Plan Your Finances

  1. Make a list of your values.
    • Write down what matters to you and then put your values in order.
  2. Set your goals.
    • Write down your goals.
    • Think about what you want to accomplish financially in the next three months, the next year, and the next three years.
  3. Determine your income.
    • Figure your available income (the amount of your take-home, or net, pay).
    • Do not include overtime pay, because you shouldn’t rely on that as regular income.
  4. Determine your expenses.
    • Review every single line item in all of your account statements, credit card statements, store receipts, and more. Where is your money really going?
    • “Fixed expenses,” such as a rent, auto or student loan payments are easy to determine.
    • “Flexible expenses,” such as food, clothing and entertainment vary from month to month.
    • Don’t forget about expenses such as taxes or insurance that are billed quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly.
    • Look into personal finance software programs that offer a budgeting feature to help you track these expenses.
  5. Create your budget.
    • Think of your budget as a “spending plan,” a way to be aware of how much money you have, where it needs to go, and how much, if any, is left over.
    • Your budget should meet your “needs” first, then the “wants” that you can afford.
    • Your expenses should be less than or equal to your total income.
    • If your income is not enough to cover your expenses, adjust your budget (and your spending!) by deciding which expenses can be reduced.

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