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Understanding Budgeting

Prepare for College

A budget is a plan for your future income and expenditures that you can use as a guideline for spending and saving. Although many Americans already use a budget to plan their spending, the majority of Americans also routinely spend more than they can afford. The key to spending within your means is to know your expenses and to spend less than you make. A good monthly budget can help ensure you pay your bills on time, have funds to cover unexpected emergencies, and reach your financial goals.

To create or rework your budget:

  • Add Up Your Income
    Determine how much income you have
  • Estimate Expenses
    Keep track of how much you spend for one month
  • Figure Out The Difference
    Total up your monthly income and your monthly expenses, subtract the expense total from the income total to get the difference.

A positive number indicates that you are spending less than you earn - congratulations. A negative number indicates that your expenses are greater than your income. This means you will need to trim your expenses in order to begin living within your means.

Budgeting Apps

Track your monthly home budget for free with these apps.

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Understanding College Cost

Prepare for College

The cost of college can include a variety of items including some you might not expect. By understanding college costs, you can compare schools and explore options for how to lower your costs. College costs include more than tuition and room and board.

Money Management Checklist

No student wants to interrupt his or her education because of financial troubles. Here is a checklist to help you manage your financial life while in school.

Budgeting: A Critical Step on the Path to Financial Security

If you want to get ahead financially — to be out of debt and with a growing retirement nest egg — you need to have a handle on where your money is going. Budgeting is a vital tool on the path to financial security, as it can help you see where your money is going, and can help you develop better spending patterns. 

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021