Office of Enrollment Management


Smart Spending: Budgeting 101

Budgeting is the foundation of any financial plan, guiding your money to where it should go. A budget or spending plan helps you control your finances and achieve your goals by being intentional with your money. 

Step-by-Step Budgeting

1. Count Income: list all income sources (paychecks, grants, scholarships, etc.). Use net pay after taxes.

2. Identify Expenses: List all expenses (fixed and variable). Categorize and anticipate occasional costs like car repairs or medical visits.

3. Create the Budget: Allocate every dollar with a zero-based budget. Prioritize needs over wants. Adjust categories until your budget balances.

4. Track Spending: Monitor your spending to ensure it aligns with your budget. Adjust as needed to stay on track. 

Students using student loans for living expenses should identify all expenses needed to determine the total they need to take out in student loans to reduce student loan debt.

Tools and Tips

Budget Planners: Try Nerdwallet's Budget Planner and Mapping Your Future's budget calculator.

Budget Apps: Use tools like Goodbudget or YNAP for easy tracking. 

FormsDave Ramsey's Quick Start Budget (Paper form) and AAMC: Budgeting Worksheet for Students and Residents

Remember, budgeting gives you control and flexibility. It empowers you to make informed choices, ensuring your money works for you. 

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