One of the most important things you can do is have a spending plan. To create a spending plan, you must first decide the timeframe. A month? A semester? A year?
Most plans are monthly, however students should consider budgeting for the semester (18 weeks/4.5 months or you can round up and use five months), especially if you are living on campus and relying on financial aid to cover the majority of expenses.
Most of your expenses, such as tuition, meal plan and housing, will be paid per semester. Other expenses, such as cell phone or car payments, you will have to multiply by the number of months in your budget. For example, if your phone bill is $60 per month, then you will need to budget $300 to have your phone for five months.
List all your financial aid as income. This should include expenses paid directly to the college before you receive your refund check. By including all your financial aid, you will have a more realistic budget. This will help you see what was spent on school and track how you spend the money you have borrowed.