College Budgeting 101


How To budget for college Many companies have often looked at college students as a sort of sub-class; always on a tight budget , dependent on handouts from their parents, with very little spare cash of their own. Such retailers would do well to remember that appearances can be deceptive. This year alone, students, jointly fuelled by money from their parents' as well as their own wallets, will spend a total of nearly $35 billion on back-to-college related merchandise. 

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While it may be the parents that pay-out the majority of the money, it is frequently the students that decide how and where the money is spent. What is more, the back-to-school sector is showing no signs of slowing down; in fact, it is expanding with forecasts for this year's spending showing a 33% rise when compared to the same figures from last year. With highly computer literate teenagers largely in command of the buying power in this sector, it comes as little surprise that much of the growth is happening online. A select few online retailers have capitalized on this by making the sites back-to-school/college havens, offering everything from paper notebooks to electronic notebooks. Many such foresighted online retailers can expect record profits this year, showing-up some of their high street counterparts.

LESSONS: College Level Budgeting 101

To avoid disaster, parents should set clear expectations; how much do you expect your son or daughter to earn through working? How much will their allowance be? When will they receive their allowance(s)? The answers to these and other key questions should be ingrained on your child's mind. It all sounds rather ominous; however, there are a number of useful tips that will aid you.

►In an ideal world, every eighteen year old would be equipped to economize and plan for tomorrow. However, the sad truth is that most people, even mature adults, live at or beyond their means - so if you give your budding-graduate a lump sum, be prepared for them to be begging for further hand-outs next time they come home.


►Another trick is to go out with your child when they select their cell phone and make sure they pick the most appropriate package.

►Pay-as-you-go phones may seem convenient and they can give a clearer idea of how much is being spent. However, contract deals can often be much cheaper - some even allow you to select your own set of toll-free numbers, so students can potentially call home free of charge.


►Overall, it is important just to use your common sense and not buy anything and everything on the off chance that it may perhaps one day be needed for something. Remember, if anything is forgotten there are shops at college, as well as online facilities. Moreover, there are a plethora of useful resources on this subject matter, including many very detailed web sites.

With the commercial sector gradually waking up to the huge potential of the back-to-college market, it can be all too easy for students, or more accurately their parents, to over spend, going far beyond what they can realistically afford. This is indeed the case for many families not only at the start of the college term, but throughout the whole of the year. As such, it is vital that parents take a leading role in encouraging their children to budget wisely; otherwise the cost of college will be greater than anyone could have ever imagined - turning it from an achievable dream into a nightmare you cannot wait to escape. The old adage holds true; a failure to plan really is a plan for failure and absolutely no one wants to fail at college before the year has even begun.

Be sure to check out these budgeting and financial resources  for more information.

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