Budgeting and Goal Setting

What is a budget? Do I need one?

At the most basic level, a budget is a way to keep track of the money you are getting and the money you are spending. A budget is a great way to make sure that you can cover your expenses from month to month.  

If you have a set income that you use to cover your expenses, chances are, making a budget is the right choice for you. 

How to create a budget

Before you set up your budget, you are going to want to figure out your goals. Are you trying to save money? Are you trying to invest? Are you trying to leave as much money as possible for general spending, or do you need to reserve it for standard expenses such as rent and groceries? Having a goal in mind for your budget is important when you decide how much money to set aside and how much to spend.

It is also important to know exactly where your money comes from, and know how much you are bringing in. If you have multiple sources of income, it might be helpful to make a list so you know how much money you are making each month. 

A great way to set up a budget is by calculating how much money comes in each month vs how much needs to come out (and make sure you add a little something for fun too!). Some common examples of necessary expenses are:

  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Utility bills
  • Household and personal supplies
  • Transportation costs
  • Gas (if applicable)

Common budgeting tools recommend saving about 20 percent of your income each month, which can be used for emergencies or can be kept in a savings account to grow. 

After you have subtracted all necessary expenses from your income, you will be left with the excess money that you can spend or save. Common budgeting tools recommend saving about 20 percent of your income each month, which can be used for emergencies or can be kept in a savings account to grow. The rest of the money left over can be used for whatever you want! That way, you can enjoy an extra fun night out with friends or a shopping spree, and know that your necessary expenses are taken care of.

Budgeting Resources

Topics: Budgeting; Earning; Loans; Saving; Spending; Taxes | Featured Resource

LIT is a financial education program that teaches students how to manage their money while in school and prepare for financial life after graduation. Over the course of ~80 videos, LIT guides students through seven major personal finance topics: Money Mindset, Cash Flow & Net Worth, Credit & Loans, Taxes, Insurance, Investing, and Retirement.

Topics: Budgeting; Spending | Featured Resource

As you prepare for grad school, you may need to take standardized admission exams. If you are eligible, you may apply for a graduate exam fee waiver for the LSAT.

Topics: Budgeting; Spending | Featured Resource

As you prepare for grad school, you may need to take standardized admission exams. If you are eligible, you may apply for a graduate exam fee waiver for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Topics: Budgeting; Financial Aid; Grants, Fellowships, and Awards; Saving; Spending | Featured Resource

The Start-Up Grant, also known as Supplemental Allowance, is an additional scholarship in an amount of $2,000 that may be used to help cover costs for associated with starting at Yale College. Examples of such costs are winter clothing, dorm necessities and course supplies. All enrolled Yale College students with ‘zero parent share’ contribution are eligible.

Topics: Budgeting; Financial Aid; Saving; Spending | Featured Resource

Managing finances to optimize your college experience is a challenge in itself, but the costs can often place a larger burden on low-income students. In order to support students through these challenges, we have centralized information in our Financial Guidance page as a first-go-to resource for any questions regarding finances for low-income students.

Topics: Budgeting; Saving; Spending | Featured Resource

Mint brings together everything from balances and bills to your credit score and more. It’s your financial life, in one place that’s easy to understand. It’s free and easy to get started, and we connect to almost every US financial institution connected to the internet. In just minutes, you’ll see where your money is going and get ideas on how to stretch it farther.

Topics: Budgeting; Spending | Featured Resource

As you prepare for grad school, you may need to take standardized admission exams. If you are eligible, you may apply for a graduate exam fee waiver for the MCAT.

Topics: Budgeting; Employment; Saving | Featured Resource

In an effort to support students pursuing careers in the nonprofit, government and the arts sectors, OCS offers a travel reimbursement program to help offset costs associated with travel for interviews and/or auditions of Yale College seniors. Each senior is allowed to submit travel reimbursement requests for a total maximum reimbursement of $200 per student.

Topics: Budgeting; Spending

As you prepare for grad school, you may need to take standardized admission exams. If you are eligible, you may apply for a graduate exam fee waiver for the GMAT exam.

Topics: Budgeting; Loans

Nerds make even the most complicated money questions and topics simple to understand. Helpful tools: Side-by-side comparisons, smart calculators and straightforward simulators help you make sense of your options.

Topics: Banking; Budgeting; Spending

What is a credit card? Is this your first credit card? If you are having trouble selecting a credit card that is right for you. There are some helpful tips in this article including learning more about different types of credit cards and how to successfully apply for one.

Topics: Budgeting; Spending

If you are having trouble being approved for your first credit card, it could be due to your lack of credit. Here are some helpful tips in case you need to build credit from scratch in order to one day obtain a credit card or a loan from a bank.