A budget book for my daughter’s college life

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As our daughter prepares to leave for college and enter the adult word of bill-paying and managing one’s own finances, I’ve been looking for a simple budget book to help her keep track of her living expenses — everything from apartment utilities to groceries — so she can determine what her monthly cost of living is. We’ve got a monthly dollar amount that we’ll be supplementing her living expenses with, but we want her to spend responsibly while she’s on her own too.

While there are plenty of software solutions for personal budgets, there’s something to be said for the simplicity of a budget book — and she liked the idea of a book that would also organize her bills. I looked in a few office supply stores but couldn’t really find what she wanted, and then we spent some time looking online. Finally, we found what looked like the perfect budget book that (hopefully!) she’ll enjoy using and maintaining. We both really liked this one:


This budget book is divided into twelve months, and each month has pages for income, direct debits and payments, and savings. It also has multiple pages to track day-to-day spending, and it has a place to summarize income and expenses at the end of each month.




Here’s the part that was most important to my daughter: Each month has its own cardboard pocket to hold unpaid bills and receipts. 

Everything we saw online about this book looked perfect. In fact, the only thing that I wasn’t quite expecting was this: 


The book arrived, and it is tiny! Admittedly, the dimensions of the book are on Amazon, but we were too busy looking at photos of the inside of the book online (“it’s got day-to-day and monthly pages – great!”) to pay attention to the actual size of this budget book. Whoops. 


When you put a bill in the pocket, well… it does stick out of the book.  Of course, this may be by design — if you see bills sticking out, it’s clear that something needs to be paid, right?

The book also has a magnet in the cover that keeps the book closed when not in use, and there’s a built-in ribbon bookmark so you can easily open it to the current month. 

Aside from the fact that it’s much smaller than either of us expected, my daughter loves this budget book and is excited about using it. I think anything that motivates a young adult to be enthusiastic about budgeting has to be a good thing, and hopefully it will help her monitor her cost of living and additional expenses.

If you also happen to be looking for a budget book, here’s the link to this one on Amazon. Despite the fact that Amazon calls this “Organized Mom Budget Book,” there is nothing “mom” about the book itself (it simply says “Boxhouse Publishing” on the back.) In fact, I think there could be a market for a “College Student Budget Book” if such a thing existed… 

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  1. kwilson says

    I showed this post to my college junior and she wants one! One of her budgeting blocks is how she should store her receipts and she thinks this will help. I thought the style and font looked familiar and it’s because I have used the “organized mom’ family planner on the fridge for 3 years.(Yes, I still use a paper calendar) It’s a great line of products.
    I’m convinced this book is small so it can be easily toted around in a purse. Some of the “on the go’ expenses are the hardest to track.
    Thanks for sharing this. I might order a few and give them as small x-mas gifts to appropriate people(like my rising college freshman!)

    • says

      You’re welcome! I hadn’t considered that it would be more convenient to carry in a purse because it’s small. Our daughter’s been pretty good about using hers and does keep all her receipts (so we can see how she’s spending and budgeting!) She has said it helps to see how much it actually costs to live in her apartment once you add in utilities, food, etc. each month.

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