Before your child heads off to the first semester of college, give him or her a "cash course" in the real world of finance, with these 8 basic money lessons for college students
Money Lesson #1: Create a Realistic Budget
Sit down with your child and list anticipated expenses for the semester. Include books, groceries, dinners out, clothing, toiletries, transportation, parking and any other recurring expenses. Consider padding the amount by 10 or 20 percent (to cover unanticipated things). Total it all up, and divide the amount by the number of weeks in the semester. That’s your child’s weekly spending limit. Whether you provide it or she earns it herself, emphasize that she needs to stick to her plan so she doesn’t run out of cash before the semester ends.
The right type of budget (a spreadsheet or online tool, perhaps) is the one your child will actually stay on top of. Make clear that you'll be checking in on her budget throughout the semester—and follow through on that promise.