There are two major components of money management: knowing where your money is coming from and knowing where your money is going.
On this page you will find tips to help you identify your income and your expenses.
If you would like to visit with one of our peer coaches about your individual income and expenses, please visit our contact page.
Where does your money come from?
While that might be an obvious question, it's possible you might be overlooking some of your sources of income! The following are examples of income:
- Monetary gifts from high school graduation
- Parents send money
- Income from a job
- Federal student loans (for more information about student loans, click here)
- Private loans
Your income might be issued every two weeks or monthly, but there is a good chance you receive income in lump sums, especially for financial aid or graduation gifts. In order to ensure you have enough income to cover all your expenses for the entire semester, you need to have a plan on how you will distribute your money every month. Our peer coaches can help you set up a plan!
Where is your money going?
Knowing where your money is going is an important piece of money management. If you have never tracked your expenses, now is the time to start. Here are a couple of options for tracking.
- BACKTRACK If you ONLY use your debit card, you can backtrack by using your online banking site to pull up statements from the past month.
- SPENDING JOURNAL Write every expense in a journal. A journal can be something as inexpensive as a small spiral notebook or it could be an app on your phone or something else that works for you. You may not have time at the checkout line at the bookstore to pull out your journal and record your expense, so in those cases, save your receipt and record the expense later that day.
Once you have accounted for all of your outgoing money, you can then begin to categorize. Make categories of expenses, such as eating out, groceries, rent, utilities, cell phone, car payments, etc.) and put each of your expenses in those categories. It's okay to have a miscellaneous category, but be careful of putting more than $20-$50 in that category. That defeats the purpose of creating categories, because "miscellaneous" isn't very descriptive.
Now you know how much money is coming into your account and how much is going out and where it is going. You have all the information you need to make a successful spending plan! Below you will find a sample expenses for Texas Tech freshman. Check back soon for more sample expenses for other groups, such as those living off campus and graduating seniors.