Many families need to create a budget strategy for the school year as college students begin arriving on campus.

“College students and parents tell us that it is difficult for them to correctly estimate the total cost of college,” said Patricia Nash Christel, spokeswoman for Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading saving-and-paying-for-college company.

These are some of the tips you should keep in mind when making a college budget

Think beyond tuition. Sallie Mae’s Education Investment Planner is a great place to start. The cost of attendance can vary by school and location. following calculator will give you an estimate of the cost of attendance. It includes average room and board, tuition, as well as estimates for books and other fees.

– Conduct an honest assessment. Do a thorough accounting of your spending habits and lifestyle. Do not forget to include entertainment, food, and car-related expenses.

– Assess additional expenses. Keep in mind personal, transport and miscellaneous costs. College Answerwww.CollegeAnswer.comThe following list contains additional indirect costs that you should keep in mind.

Take care of your health. Many colleges require students have health insurance. Some institutions may also require students to purchase on-campus care, even if they are already covered.

Keep saving. You don’t have to wait until college starts to save with a 529 college savings plan. Families can save even if college has begun. This will allow students to afford future years while also potentially receiving tax benefits. Families can get rewards for purchases at over 70,000 locations by enrolling at You can use the rewards you accumulate for college expenses.

– Learn about books. You will find fewer used books than new books, so don’t wait to buy. Just make sure you get the right edition. There are also options to purchase books cheaper, such as at off-campus bookstores or online.

Credit is to be used with caution Some students don’t need a credit card. A check card linked to your bank account may be the best option for you. This will allow you to meet your financial needs while keeping your non-essential expenses in check. Many students use credit cards to save time and end up paying interest for pizza or tickets to concerts.