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. Do NOT bring a car. Each university is equipped with several transportation options (e.g., walk, bike, roller-blade, public transportation, etc.) and parking is outrageously 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. Track your expenses. (Collect your monthly bills first.)
  2. Prioritize your spending habits: needs > wants.
  3. Your income must exceed your expenses.
  4. Have 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.


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. 

Learn more about budgeting with our webinars:

Urbana-CHAMPAIGN Resources