Plan Your Living Situation

Dorm vs. Apartment

Move in with minimal belongings. Save the shopping for food, toiletries and dorm room décor for after you move in. This way you will buy only what you need. Avoid bringing a car. Each university is equipped with several transportation options (e.g., walk, bike, roller-blade, public transportation, etc.) and parking is expensive.

Picking a meal plan if you live in a dorm

Pick a dining hall meal plan that works for you! Meal plans cost thousands of dollars, and it is important to look at how many meals / credits you will be receiving for the week.

Budgeting Your Money

Before you get started, there are a few basics to creating a budget, or spending plan, that should not be overlooked:

  1. Collect your bills - monthly, quarterly, annual, etc.
  2. Track your expenses. 
  3. Prioritize your spending habits: needs > wants. Your income should exceed your expenses.
  4. Establish an emergency fund for unexpected costs or opportunities.
  5. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals to guide your budget and better measure your progress. If a goal or expense-tracking method isn't working, change it!

Typically, having a budget can relieve a lot of stress just by knowing how much you have to work with and where your money must go over the course of the week, month, semester or year. 

Budget Hacks and Spooked by Spending Plans both go over methods to help you learn how to budget and tips to revising your financial plan. You can watch the videos on YouTube or enroll in the Spend Course to complete the self-paced modules to get credit towards the Spend Badge.

SMMC Resources for Continuing Students:

  • Budget Hacks
  • Money in Relationships
  • Save Money on Food
  • Spooked by Spending Plans?
  • Student Loan Repayment

University Resources