Life as a student - stick to a budget

by frank-stuart

You don’t have to be broke to be a college student. You just need to be organised and committed to sticking to a budget.

Why do I need to keep a budget?

To some students this might sound pretty boring and not a number one priority, but it’s an essential part of everyday life. A budget will give you control over your spending and teach you money management skills. It’s so easy sometimes to go running in the red, so a budget will assist you in consciously thinking about where your money goes.

Don’t know where to start?

Here are our top 10 tips to help you take a conscious look at how much you’re spending and start saving more than you spend –

Take up a summer job – use your wages to start putting aside extra money in a savings account. Plus it’s a great way to get some work experience and learn to juggle your time.

Be realistic – set a savings goal that you can actually achieve and take out any expenses that you can live without. Figure out what’s achievable and what’s not and commit to your goal.

Examine your expenses – You’ll be surprised at how much you spend on things like lunch, coffee, etc… By separating essentials from non-essentials it will teach you great money-saving tricks and help you realise that you can save by doing simple things for yourself (like bringing your own lunch).

Have fun with budgeting – there are so many budget applications available to download on the internet or on your Smart Phone to give you a visual summary of your budget.

Think sales and second hand – for clothes consider buying second hand items, you’ll be amazed at what people giveaway. For grocery items, think no brand names as it’s always cheaper. For books, check out on-campus deals, borrow from the library or friends and read your favourite magazine online.

Window shop online – benefit from group buying websites like Our Deal, Catch of the Day, etc… to alert you when there are promotional or last-minute deals.

Never shop for no reason – As a rule of thumb, don’t shop when you’re feeling down, stressed or bored. It’ll just lead to temptation and make you spend more than you should.

Party Smarter – Make plans around what you can afford rather than spending around plans you make. Take advantage of student discounts – for example some cinemas offer special deals to students on a particular day of the week.

Ditch the Phone – Try emailing more and sign up to Skype and social media sites like Facebook to communicate with loved ones for free.

Travel with a group – catch a ride with other students and save on petrol and cost of public transport.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be all work and no play to stick to a budget. You’ll have a great time being a student without feeling stressed out about piling debts. You’ll also learn invaluable skills in the process to help you manage your finances for life

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