Month: December 2019

Personal Budgeting Tips for College Students in Dorms

Just moving into a college dorm? Is this your first time out of your parent’s house? Let me give you some advice on what to consider when personal budgeting as a college student living in a dorm.

Here are eleven tips to consider, some obvious and some random.

Semester Fees

Dorm and class registration fees are the introductory aspects of any personal budgeting campaign from college students in dorms. You should have a figure for how much your fees are that you need in order to qualify as a student before the semester begins. These fees will vary depending on the university you attend.

Dorm Appliances

There are necessities that you and your college roommates will need in the dorm. You need bed sheets for the mattresses. Dorm students need a mini-fridge for snacks and beverages. Students need a television for entertainment. An alarm clock is highly recommended. Dorm mates should consider some type of cleaning utensils to decrease the likelihood of germs. Each dorm student should consider some type of radio or iPod for playing music.


If you own an automobile, you likely need to update your vehicle registration each year. Depending on your state, you may have other regulations to address, including vehicle inspection reports. Don’t forget this one-time fee each year you are personal budgeting through college.


Personal budgeting for all college students need to evaluate their money food expenses. Will you be going with a meal plan, or do you intend on purchasing your own food? Campus food can often be unhealthy, limited in options, and expensive. I recommend looking into your university’s cafeteria and pricing options and deciding if it is for you. If not, you should be able to live on off-campus dining for nothing over $100 per month with economical shopping decisions.


Going to college, everyone has clothes. Do you have all the clothes you need? Business casual clothing, suit, tie, and dress shoes? Do you have winter clothing or any clothing for protection against unpleasant conditions?

Don’t forget to bring lots of quarters for the laundry machine!


Do you struggle with particular subjects? If you need assistance via tutorship, you should approximately the costs of tutoring sessions.


There are two keys to purchasing textbooks in college. First, do not procrastinate. The sooner you know what your classes are, the sooner you can buy your books. The sooner you can buy your books, the better chances you have of avoiding the textbook rush where demand is highest and prices are too.

The second key to purchasing textbooks is never dealing with the campus bookstores. This goes for selling also. Use Craigslist, eBay,, or any website where you can find the best deals. You can also consider renting textbooks online or purchasing older editions of the textbook if the professor tells you it is sufficient for his or her class.

College students can save hundreds on textbooks each semester, so be wise about textbook shopping.


After purchasing textbooks, college students need supplies. Pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks, flash drives, and possibly laptops. Do not forget about simulations that your professors assign you that you can’t register until a couple weeks into the semester.

Any supplies that will help the student excel in the classroom should be considered as a long-term investment to greater future potential.

Cellular Phone

It’s not a necessity, but how many college students are surviving without their phone? College students should estimate the monthly charges of their phone plan into any personal budgeting template pursued.


Any medical, leisure, or miscellaneous expenses you need or want in order to succeed in college should be added into your personal budgeting. If you are a student that returns home every week after finishing classes, then you should account for fuel expenses. If you hang out during the week, then estimate what you spend.

Saving for Holidays and Traveling

I’ve overheard college students talk about how they were saving their excess cash in hopes of an out-of-state trip during spring break or over the summer. You need to account for future spending, whether it is for personal reasons or for holiday shopping. A great idea would be to set aside some money in a savings account and let it grow interest. This would help prevent your temptations from making you spend it.

Good luck!