How to Create a Budget for College (Template & Example Included)

February 21, 2020

Read on for a step-by-step guide for college students on how to make your own monthly budget!

Student working on creating a budget

This is a step-by-step guide on how to determine and fill out your monthly budget! Before getting started you will need to download and print your monthly budget sheet.

Download Budget Sheet


While it is printing, take some time to familiarize yourself with the two types of expenses that will appear in your budget.

What are fixed and variable expenses?

A Fixed Expense is a reoccurring cost of which the amount never changes. You will pay these expenses regularly (Weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly).

A Variable Expense is a potential cost that differs depending on your personal spending decisions.


What is an average monthly income?

Before you can create a monthly budget, you'll need to figure out your average monthly income. To do this, you are going to compare your income over the last three months and come up with an average. On a piece of paper, write down your monthly income for the last three months. Add them all together and then divide by three. This gives you your average monthly income!

Formula for how to calculate your average monthly income


1. Income

Write in your average monthly income on the "Income" line on your budget sheet!

Budget sheet step one: income


2. Fixed Expenses

Second, double check the Fixed Expenses that we already listed for you. Feel free to add any expenses we missed!

Budget sheet step two: fixed expenses


3. Fixed Expenses Cost

Now it is time to write in the cost of your fixed expenses!

Budget sheet step three: fixed expenses cost


4. Total Fixed Expenses Cost

Next add the cost of your fixed expenses together and write in the F.E. Total Cost.

Budget sheet step four: total fixed expenses cost


5. Amount Remaining

The fifth step is to calculate the amount remaining after Fixed Expenses! To find the amount remaining, you subtract your F.E. Total from your Income. Write you answer on the Amount Remaining line.

Budget sheet step five: amount remaining


6. Variable Expenses

Make a list of all of your variable expenses.Try and keep the list as short as possible by condensing some expenses into a broader topic.

Budget sheet step six: variable expenses


7. Variable Expenses Cost

Estimate the monthly cost of each variable expense and write the prices in the Cost column.If you have variable Expenses that are not addressed on the sheet you can include their price in the Miscellaneous cost.

Budget sheet step seven: variable expensesd cost


8. Total Variable Expenses Cost

Add together the costs of your Variable Expenses to get your V.E. Total and write it in the space provided.

Budget sheet step eight: total variable expenses cost


9. Find The Sum

Now, add the totals of both your Fixed and Variable Expenses together, the sum is your Final Total Expenses.

Budget sheet step nine: find the sum


10. Final Total Expenses

Finally, subtract the Final Total Expenses from your original total income to find your savings for the month and write it in the space provided.

Budget sheet step ten: final total expenses


Congratulations! You have successfully followed along and completed your personal monthly budget! By filling out a budget sheet every month you have a better understanding of exactly how much you're spending and where.

The goal of creating and filling out a budget sheet is to hold yourself accountable to staying on budget. We hope that this step-by-step guide has helped you better understand how to use a budget sheet, and remember to always stay on budget!



Can we guess your zodiac sign based on your budgeting habits? Check out our quiz

Or check out 6 Tips for Budgeting Your Money in College for more helpful tips on managing money!