4 Budgeting Tips for Students
Being a student is one of the most exciting times of your life. It’s also, usually, one of the most stressful – financially speaking. You may be lucky enough to have parents paying for your education, but very few of them can afford to give you unlimited cash to spend on yourself as well. You may be putting yourself through tertiary education and you know better than anyone that money doesn’t grow on trees.
But look at it from a different angle and you’ll see that this is a good thing. To start with, you’ll learn how to budget. You’ll also learn how to find and keep a job while studying. You’ll learn you’re stronger than you thought you were. To help you along we’ve come up with 4 budgeting tips you can put into practice right now.
Tip 1: Put together a budget and stick to it!
This is the most obvious one. Make a list of every expense you have to meet every month. Like rent for your student accommodation – including water and electricity, food (real food not chips and beer), transport, communication – airtime, data etc. Those are the bills you must meet first. Put a set amount aside every month for emergencies. Put it into a savings account so it’ll earn interest while you wait for the emergency. If you have a budget and you stick to it you may find yourself with some spare cash, which is always useful. There are free budgeting tools you can use to keep track of your finances. Student Budget Calculator or Mint.com are just two. Don’t take out any loans and cut up your credit card.
Tip 2: Shop wisely.
Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and don’t make any impulse purchases either. Shop where they offer students discounts. Don’t forget to take you student ID with you. Make your own coffee and put it in a travel mug to take with you. It’s so much cheaper than coffee shops. Drink water, it’s free. Don’t buy brand name items. Shop at places like Food Lover’s Market or Farmer’s Market for really reasonable veggies and fruit.
Tip 3: Take Advantage of free stuff.
Things that are free:
- The library – if you can get textbooks or required reading books out the library, why buy them?
- Use a bike instead of the bus or a car. The only fuel you need is your legs. So you get a great work out as well as free transportation.
- Talking of workouts, you can make your weights at home; a backpack full of books, milk bottles filled with sand – get creative.
- Spotify or Pandora offer free music so you don’t need to purchase expensive CDs.
Tip 4: Remember why you’re there
Go to class, do the homework, study like your life depends on it. Otherwise you’re just throwing money away. Use the breaks to do something useful with your life. Try volunteering or work experience in your chosen profession. It’ll put your further ahead than everyone else when you graduate.