Just One Resource - CREATE: Monthly College Budget

May 16, 2018
Just One Resource, Paying for College, Budgeting


  Just One Resource  


In this new weekly blog post, Jessica will highlight Just One Resource from our NGPF collection that maybe doesn't get the attention it deserves. Use it this week or bookmark it for later. 


[The Resource]  CREATE: Monthly College Budget

The Gist: Think of this as a precursor to Payback but less focused on tuition costs and more focused on the day-to-day budgeting decisions a college freshman will make. Each slide presents a new decision: Will you work freshman year and how much? Will you stick with your meal plan or dine out with friends? What about student season tickets to football games? 

The Best Parts: 

  • The focus is on making the decisions and balancing their budget, not on comparison shopping or online research, so students won't get "stuck" scouring the web for costs of meal plans or cell phone bills -- representative data is provided.
  • Every student who's done this activity finds at least one if not many points they need to discuss with their parents. My favorite: "Uh, my parents buy my shampoo now. I never assumed that they might stop when I get to college. Am I going to have to buy my own shampoo? I need to ask this!"
  • Students enter their expenses into a spreadsheet, so even if they're not spreadsheet whizkids, they get some good exposure and experience with the basics. 
  • A hypothetical situation is laid out from the start, but you can allow your students to customize as much as you or they would like -- makes this a PERFECT activity for underclassman to get thinking about budgeting during college and college-bound seniors to budget for real!


About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.