Much like meeting with your academic advisor to plan a successful program of study to meet your life goals, meeting with a financial counselor can help you develop a college financial plan to optimize your financial success during and after college.
A SMMC representative can help you create YOUR college financial plan with the following steps:
Are you left wondering every month where that money goes that you work so hard for? Or where that allowance that your parents give you every month disappears to? Consider the following tips to help you not only track your expenses, but also create a spending plan and even save some dough for that spring break trip or down payment on a house after graduation.
Identify Your Expenses
In order to get control over your finances, you must identify where your money goes. You can use UNL's Estimate of Costs to gauge the current cost of attendance. If you want to plan ahead for your future education expenses, estimate an increase of between 3-5% annually.
There are also several online resources available to help track your spending:
- The website www.mint.com is a great tool to help track expenses, and it's FREE. It allows you to bring all of your financial accounts together, groups your transactions by category, and can be accessed on your computer and even on your phone!
- Another useful website to help with not only budgeting but all aspects of finance is CashCourse. It helps with college finances, credit cards and reports, and even retirement savings for those looking to the future.
- Check out this Interactive Calculator created especially for students in college. It considers expenses such as books, tuition, and income sources like financial aid and loans.
Create Your Spending Plan
- First you will estimate what you believe your income and expenses are for a monthly period. You will also identify whether the expense is a need or a want.
- Second you will record your actual income and expenses as determined from your financial records for a monthly period again identifying them as needs or wants. By estimating first, then recording actuals second, you will get a good feel for how in tune you are with your spending habits.
- The final step is to determine any adjustments that need to be made and to create the spending plan for next month.
Change Your Money Behaviors
Identifying your expenses and creating your spending plan will be the easy part. The hard part will be changing your money behaviors. So along with the spending plan you should carefully reflect on your attitudes about money. Are you ready to make a change about how you make money decisions? Go to Financial Literacy Month's First Step to Financial Freedom to begin a process that may help you create this overall financial change in yourself.
Assess your financial opportunities and options for scholarships, grants, savings, part-time work, work-study, gifts, or loans.
Create your college financial plan with the assistance of your SMMC representative.
Review your college financial plan each academic period with your SMMC representative and make any necessary adjustments.
Keep track of how much you owe so you aren't surprised when you have to start making payments.
Student Loan Summary