Learning to manage your finances is an important step to take as an MIT student, and careful planning of your budget now will help you far into the future.

Expenses

We bill you directly for MIT expenses. These include tuition, the student fee, on-campus housing, your meal plan if you have one, and the Student Extended Insurance Plan if you are enrolled.

Keep in mind you will have out-of-pocket expenses that you may not have considered such as food, utilities if you live off-campus (electricity, gas, phone, cable, internet), books and supplies, local transportation, travel and other personal expenses (clothing, entertainment, etc.).

Keeping track of what you spend is important so you don’t wind up spending more than you can afford.

Budgeting

Creating a budget is surprisingly simple. Start by identifying the time period for the budget. It could be for the full academic year, for a semester, for a month or for a week. At its most basic, a budget is a plan to ensure that your expected resources are equal to your expected expenses. After you set your budget, you need to make sure that you are able to keep to it and ideally have some money left over at the end.

I. Resources

Begin by writing down your resources. This may include wages from work, financial aid including loans, savings or gifts. Make sure to capture your net income, the amount you actually take home and not your gross income, your stated earnings before taxes are removed. You should know when your resources will hit your bank or student account. Most student loans are disbursed at the right time to make your semester payments, however you must be registered for the term first.

If you don’t know your resources, contact us and we will help you determine the best way for you to afford MIT and your other expenses.

II. Expenses

Next examine your expenses and write them all down. It may be helpful to separate MIT charges (tuition, housing, etc.) from your out-of-pocket living expenses (cellphone, transportation, etc.) and organize them in terms of priority.

Total your expenses and pay attention when your payments are due. 

III. Budget

Compare your total resources to your total expenses. If your expenses exceed your resources, you're in the red (over spending) and should go back and lower your expenses by giving consideration to what expenses are needs and what are wants.

If you have been able to break even, you have a realistic budget to follow. And if you have savings left over you can think about setting up an emergency fund or saving for your future.

Make sure to stick to your predetermined spending. Developing good spending habits now will help you far into the future.

Resources

Undergraduate Student Budgeting Worksheet: This tool can help MIT undergraduates plan for how much they will owe MIT and how much money they will need for their own expenses.

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