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#StudentSA – Budgeting tips for students

Liezl Hesketh in #StudentSA 


by Bella Boqo

“Show me your budget and I’ll show you your priorities.”

When a respected financial advisor made this statement, I cowered at the thought that my life story was written on countless purple Cadbury wrappers. If my budget did indeed tell a story about me: likes, dislikes, values, hobbies and dreams, then my whole life would be reduced to feeding chocolate cravings. I would be the junkie who spends her first and last cent on a cup and half of sweet tasting dairy milk. No one would know that I dreamed of being a seamstress or starting a fashion line, because I made little or no effort in putting my money where my dreams are.

Although hearing this statement has sparked a change in my spending habits, I must admit that it’s still a struggle. It takes every ounce of will power and umpteen ‘I don’t need this’ recitations to keep my hand from reaching for that shiny wrapper at the till. This is why I found yesterday’s #StudentSA- Budgeting Tips tweet chat useful. Not only did I get confirmation on the purpose of a budget, but students and financial experts gave tips on how to walk the long and narrow path of financial stability.




So, if your spending habits did tell a story, what would they say about you? Are you the stylish fashionista whose obsession with shoes leaves her on a pile of debt?  Or are you the reasonable financially sound guy whose needs always truimph a dangerous fear of missing out? I hope you are the latter, but if not consider reading a few of these tips on drafting a budget from The Guardian. I’m sure they’ll go a long way in putting you on the right path.

  • Work out your costs: the first step to budgeting is calculating your expenses. This means prioritising your expenses and ranking them according to their importance. Fixed costs like rent or tuition should always come first, these will then be followed by variable costs which change monthly and/or weekly. Once-off purchases such as an Ipad or Fridge will go to the bottom of the list. Once your list is compiled, write down what it will cost.
  • Work out your income: Although money comes from different sources, all of these account for income. Do the same for your expenses.
  • The last step involves subtracting your expenses from your income. If your money does not balance out or if expenses exceed your income, re-evaluate your expenses and re-draft your budget. Finding alternative sources of income will also helps.

We all want to live like Kings but the budget doesn’t always allow us to do that.

All discussions under #StudentSA: Come and get more student life tips on the Wednesday night Twitter chat at 2100hrs (GMT +2hrs).

Catch up here on our previous weeks’ chats