Budgeting strategies

Take control of your day-to-day finances

Maintaining the right balance between your income and expenses may make paying your federal student loan(s) easier. A budget helps you plan and prioritize what you do with your money.

There are many ways to create a budget, including our Budgeting: spending plan worksheet. If your budget doesn't seem to be lining up with what's in your wallet, try keeping an expense journal. Use it to track all of your daily purchases—like eating out. You might be surprised to find out exactly where your money is going.

Having trouble sticking to your budget

Living within your budget can be hard. Here are some simple ways to stay on track:

Make payments automatic. Set up automatic withdrawals for fixed expenses like student loans, rent and payments to savings.

Change your due dates. If all your fixed costs are due on the first of the month, you may not have enough money for the first two weeks of the month. But if you shift the due dates for your car or student loan(s) to the middle of the month, you may get those fixed costs in synch with your income. Contact your servicer(s) for more information.

Use cash, not credit or debit cards. We all spend far less when we pay with cash because we can see the money leaving our hands. Research has shown that people making purchases with credit cards spend more, even on everyday items like groceries and coffee.

Want more money management tips?

Visit Financial Awareness Basics (FAB) section of this website for more information. Read more >