Every student should make a budget for monthly expenses, including unexpected costs, such as car repair and doctors’ visits. If you create a budget that has room for savings or an emergency fund, you can save money to help cover surprise expenses so they don’t disrupt your ability to pay your rent and utilities.

Your budget should be reasonable for your financial situation, but should also include room for some fun while you’re balancing your academic responsibilities and monthly household necessities. This could include your Netflix subscription, or the occasional dinner at your favorite Tuscaloosa restaurant. Once you’ve planned for all the necessities and surprise expenses, you’ll have a better idea of how much “fun money” you have at your disposal.

Off-Campus Resources has developed a Monthly Budget Worksheet specifically for college students.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is important to protect yourself and your belongings in case something happens to your rental unit, like a water leak, or storm damage. Many leases stipulate that the landlord is only responsible for repairing any damage to the unit itself, not for replacing your property, or for providing you with temporary housing while repairs are being made. Renter’s insurance can help you prepare for these costs, in case something happens.

Culverhouse’s Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research has an online publication that explains how renter’s insurance can help and where you can get a policy.

Financial Wellness

It’s important that your spending in college sets you up for success once you graduate.

Cash Course logo

CashCourse® is a free, online financial education resource designed specifically for college and university students. Created with input from real students and universities, CashCourse® equips students with information that helps them make informed financial decisions, from orientation to graduation and beyond.


Make sure that your budget accounts for any utility costs, including the occasional overage during very hot or cold months.


Transportation costs are increasingly becoming a big factor in any college student’s budget, so make sure you’ve planned for all transportation expenses.

Food and Groceries

Food and grocery costs can get out of hand quickly, so planning ahead can help you keep your budget under control.