Budgeting for the Future

The challenge with budgets is that you have to revise them as your income and your expenses change. College students need budgets. Working adults need budgets. Families with kids need budgets.

Each of those budgets is similar in some ways. There are always fixed and variable expenses. There are always needs and wants. But they aren't the same.

Neither is the income that people have to spend.

It's smart to review and revise your budget once a year. January 1 is a good day. Or make it your birthday.

During the year — ideally every month:

  • Monitor your spending on each budget item to be sure you aren't getting too far off track.
  • Keep records of your expenses and look for ways to cut your costs and increase your savings.
  • If necessary, you can revise your budget during the year. That might happen if your housing costs or your student loan payments go up. You'll have to cut back somewhere else.
Now is a good time to go back to the budget calculator and review the decisions you’ve made about spending. You can find it at https://studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college/budgeting/creating-your-budget.