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Calculate your income and expenses

A budget consists of two major parts: 1) income and 2) expenses. Before you can create an effective budget, you must know how much money you have presently, how much income you anticipate having, and how much your expenses will be.

  1. First, calculate your expenses: fixed and variable.
  • Fixed expenses, which stay the same, include your tuition, fees, car loan payments, etc.
  • Variable expenses, which vary for each person, include books, supplies, personal expenses, etc.
      2. Next, calculate your earnings. You should identify your source of income (e.g., savings, summer job, campus work-study employment, and parents) and record how much you realistically expect to earn each month. Add these to find your total income.

      3. Lastly, subtract your total expenses from your income. If the 'bottom line' is negative, you have two choices:

  • Increase your income to meet your expenses (earning money) 
  • Reduce your expenses to stay within your income (stretching your dollars) 

    Remember that setting a budget will only benefit you if you stick to it.

    Earn Money

    If you need to earn money, on-campus jobs are an easy way to turn idle time between classes into extra money and, in some instances, to earn valuable work experience in your field. If interested, you can contact the Office of Student Employment or the Toppel Career Center.

    Stretch Your Dollar

    Books and Supplies

    In buying books, compare prices at different stores. Purchase a less expensive used book unless your class requires a brand new edition. Students also sell used books, often at a price cheaper than bookstores.

    Buy a calculator, not necessarily a computer. Personal computers are available to students in the residential colleges as well as in the library and some individual schools. Toiletries, notebooks, folders, pens and pencils are all items you will need. You probably already know where to get these items at a good price, so buy them before coming to the university.


    Incoming freshmen who reside on campus are required to purchase one of the meal plans offered by Dining Services. Other alternatives include the Hurricane Food Court (seven restaurants) and the Oasis Deli.


    Dress styles at the University of Miami are casual. You can wear shorts almost all year-round. No need to buy a whole new wardrobe just for school.


    If you get sick, try the Student Health Center before visiting off-campus medical facilities. Medications and prescriptions are more economical through the campus pharmacy.


    Minimize trips back home and make arrangements as early as possible. Take advantage of discounted airfares, and also explore alternate forms of transportation. Check with friends who might be traveling by car to the same area you intend to go.  The more passengers, the less the cost per person.

    For local travel, the University of Miami is serviced by Miami's Metrorail. Student Metrorail discounts are available. Travel by Metrorail to University of Miami football games is free with a valid Cane Card.


    The Wellness Center is equipped with an indoor swimming pool, track, weight room, and racquetball and basketball courts.

    For entertainment, you can watch movies at the Cosford Cinema, the on-campus movie theater. Commercial films are often screened here prior to being released to the public. These showings are often free to students with their Cane Card.

    You can also use your Cane Card to attend University of Miami athletic events and many of the University-sponsored social events. There are also many concerts and plays you can attend. Over 200 concerts and recitals are held at the Gusman Concert Hall. In addition four to six plays are performed at the Jerry Herman Ring Theater each year.

    Student organizations regularly sponsor a variety of big name artists to perform on campus. Admission is often free for students and discounted for their guests. As for activities, resident assistants plan social events for students living in the residential colleges. Most events are free. RAs are very knowledgeable of the university's resources as well as the local area.



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