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Budgeting 101: Budgeting Tips for High School and College Students

April is Financial Literacy Month

Learning to budget is a crucial life skill that can help you take control of your finances and achieve your financial goals. Whether you're a high school student preparing for college or a college student navigating the expenses of higher education, budgeting can help you avoid debt and financial stress. Keep reading for some helpful tips on budgeting for college students and some ideas for high school students to get your good habits started.

According to a survey conducted by LendEDU, 67% of college students have a monthly budget, but only 40% stick to it.

Tips for College Students

College can be an exciting time, but it can also be an expensive one. Here are some budgeting tips for college students to help you manage your finances:

  1. Create a budget: The first step to managing your finances is to create a budget. Make a list of all your income and expenses, including tuition, housing, textbooks, food, transportation, and entertainment. Allocate your income to cover your expenses, and make sure you have a plan for saving money.

  2. Use student discounts: Many retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues offer student discounts, so take advantage of them whenever you can. This can help you save money on everything from clothing to movie tickets.

  3. Avoid credit card debt: Credit cards can be a useful tool for building credit, but they can also lead to debt if not used responsibly. Avoid using credit cards for everyday expenses, and pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.

  4. Cook at home: Eating out can be expensive, so consider cooking at home to save money. You can also save money by buying groceries in bulk and meal prepping for the week.

  5. Find a part-time job: A part-time job can help you earn extra money to cover your expenses. Look for opportunities on campus or in your community that fit your schedule.


A study by Sallie Mae found that college students spend an average of $2,000 a year on entertainment, including dining out, movies, and concerts.

There's an App For That...

Managing your finances can be made easier with the use of budgeting apps. Here are some apps that can help college and high school students with their budgeting plans:

  1. Mint: This app allows you to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts to track your spending and create a budget. It also sends alerts when you're close to going over budget and offers personalized financial advice.

  2. PocketGuard: This app helps you track your income and expenses, and creates a budget based on your spending habits. It also categorizes your transactions and sends alerts when bills are due or if you're at risk of overspending.

  3. Goodbudget: Goodbudget is a digital envelope budgeting system that allows you to allocate your money to different categories, like food, transportation, and entertainment. You can track your spending and adjust your budget as needed.

  4. YNAB: You Need a Budget (YNAB) helps you create a budget based on your income and expenses, and tracks your spending in real-time. It also offers financial education resources and encourages users to save money for future expenses.

Using a budgeting app can make it easier to track your spending and stick to your budget.

Tips for High School Students

According to a survey by TD Ameritrade, 45% of high school students say they have little to no knowledge of personal finance.

High school is a great time to start learning about budgeting and money management. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Create a savings plan: Start saving money early by creating a savings plan. Set aside a portion of your income for savings each month and make a plan for how you will use your savings in the future.

  2. Track your spending: Keep track of your spending by writing down everything you spend money on. This will help you identify areas where you can cut back and save money.

  3. Practice delayed gratification: Learn to delay gratification by saving up for things you want instead of buying them right away. This can help you avoid impulse purchases and save money in the long run.

  4. Get a part-time job: Getting a part-time job in high school can help you learn about responsibility and money management. Use your earnings to start saving for college or other future expenses.

  5. Research financial aid: Start researching financial aid options early to get a head start on the college application process. This can help you identify scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities to help you pay for college.

Budgeting may seem intimidating at first, but it's a skill that can pay off in the long run. It is never too late to get started employing responsible spending habits!


Garrett Educational Consulting provides comprehensive boarding school and college admissions consulting. Click HERE to learn more about us.

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