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5 Ways to Track Your College Expenses

Staying on Top of Your Spending Doesn't Have to Be Complicated

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5 Ways to Track Your College Expenses

(© 2009 Brian Lucier licensed to About.com)

Books. Food. Rent. And eight million other things you didn't think of or plan for. Tracking your college expenses is an important part of managing your college budget. With so much else going on, however, how's a student to keep on top of it all?

Luckily, tracking your college expenses doesn't have to be a huge project on your to-do list. Just figure out which of the five ways suggested below will work for you, stick with it ... and rest assured knowing that your expenses are on track at all times.

5 Ways to Track Your College Expenses

  1. Use a computer program. It doesn't have to be fancy; it just has to be something you're comfortable with. It can be a spreadsheet program that you personalize to your own needs. As long as it works with your brain, it will work with your budget.
  2. Use whatever your bank offers. Many, if not most, banks now offer online services. You can track your spending, see up-to-the-minute balances, and sort your purchases by category. Why reinvent the wheel if your bank has already done it for you?
  3. Use an independent website. It seems like there are new websites popping up every few months that allow you to track your expenses -- often for free. Take advantage of what they have to offer.
  4. Use an old-fashioned checkbook register. It may be gathering dust in your box of checks, but if you want something really easy, a checkbook register can be a great way to track your expenses. It's like a spreadsheet without the computer.
  5. Use your phone or paper calendar. Your phone, PDA, or day planner may have something that you can use to keep track of your expenses. This can be a great method if you get into the habit of stuffing your receipts into the back of your calendar; you can use them at the end of the month to see where all of your hard-earned cash is going -- and how much you have left.

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