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Budget For Your Future

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Most of us go through high school knowing that the common progression is to get good grades, graduate high school, apply to college, get a degree or certificate, and then obtain a job working in a career that we will enjoy. But, what does that really look like for each of us individually?  How do we know if what we are studying equates to a meaningful and prosperous future?  The answer is we don't know for sure.  What we do know is that if we have a basic understanding of what we would like our future to look like, we can backwards map a plan that will help put us in a position to obtain that desired lifestyle. 
In this exercise, you will develop and budget the lifestyle you would like to have 10 years from now using the costs and standards of today.  Yes, you may not feel for certain how you want that to look like, but we must understand that the process of thinking about it is where the value is, even when the results are subject to change as we get a better understanding of who we are, and what we want.  In this process you will budget what type of lifestyle you would like by dreaming a little, doing a bit of research, and learning all of the details that go into sustaining yourself and perhaps your future family. 
Remember, there are no wrong answers or wrong numbers in this budget process.  The most important thing you can do is yes, dream big, but not so big that you are developing a plan that is unrealistic and nearly un-obtainable.  We all want to live in a multi million dollar mansion and drive a $500,000 sports car, but very few ever in life obtain this.  Not that you can't have the elaborate lifestyle, but you will find that keeping the budget numbers more moderate and realistic will be eye opening in itself.

Download a copy of the lifestyle budget. 

Use the tabs at the bottom of the document to navigate through each section.

Financial Literacy Header
No matter how you finance your education, you must manage your money to maximize your situation and ultimately reach your goals. Take charge of your money and be informed.

In this worksheet you will begin by filling in your Income and Expenses for each semester. Financial aid (including loans), savings, and family support can all be sources of income. Since work earnings can vary from month to month, wait to include your employment or work study earnings in the monthly tabs. Fill in expenses that occur at the beginning of the semester including tuition, housing, and meal plan. 

Next move onto the monthly tabs. The spreadsheet automatically divides your estimated financial aid refund (if applicable) so you can see how much of your refund you can spend each month in order to have it last the whole semester. Fill in your estimated income and expenses for the month in the "projected column" 

It is also important to revisit your budget and fill in the actual column throughout the month. You can use this column as a running total of your spending.

Download the Financial Literacy On-Campus Budgeting Worksheet.

Use the tabs at the bottom of the document to navigate each section.
Use the "other" cell if you have an expense that isn't listed
Use your online banking as a tool to help you add up your actual spending.