Back-to-School Money Guide: Making a Budget

Money tips on building a budget to help keep college-bound kids on track.

ByABC News via logo
August 23, 2010, 3:41 PM

Aug. 24, 2010— -- College means more independence for many students, but it also means more financial responsibility. Before your teen goes off to college for the first time, it's important to talk about spending and budgeting.

Paying for a college education means more than just covering tuition costs. "Good Morning America" financial contributor Mellody Hobson recommends setting up a budget with your kids ahead of time, so college-bound kids know exactly where their money is going and what money is coming in.

The first step to creating a college budget is considering expenses. There are many costs to take into account, including room and board or rent, books and supplies, food and groceries, transportation, personal care (cosmetics, toiletries, prescription medications, etc.) and more. Don't forget to set aside funds for entertainment -- things like dining out, going to the movies, or big events like birthday celebrations or travel plans.

Next, figure out your child's income. This includes any income from a school job, financial aid, scholarships, student loans, and any support or monthly allowances from parents.

Parents should make it clear that income and expenses need to balance.

CLICK HERE for a printable budget worksheet for college students. has an online budgeting worksheet that students can download, enter their estimated expenses for the year and it will automatically calculate the total costs.

Here's are guidelines for how much students at public and private colleges spend on average each year.

Estimated Annual College Costs at a 4-Year Public University:

In-State Resident Cost

Tuition & Fees: $6,185

Room & Board: $7,404

Books-Supplies: $988

Transportation: $911

Other Expenses: $1,848

Total Annual Cost: $17,336

Estimate Annual College Costs at a 4-Year Private University:

On-Campus Resident Cost

Tuition & Fees: $23,712

Room & Board: $8,595

Books-Supplies: $988

Transportation: $768

Other Expenses: $1,311

Total Annual Cost: $35,374

*Provided by and based on data from the 2007 College Board Trends in Higher Education

Click here for more back to school saving tips from "Good Morning America."

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.