Budgeting as a Student
It’s such a Catch-22. Just when you get out on your own and have some money coming in you get hit with every kind of bill imaginable. Water bill. Gas bill. Electricity bill. Rent. Food. By the time you pay for the necessities all that’s left in your wallet is your student ID card! In order to avoid imminent bankruptcy, or a sky-high overdraft, budgeting is the only way to go. If you make a realistic budget and stick to it, your money worries should become mere annoyances at most. Take a deep breath, hide the credit cards and get ready to live on a student-friendly shoestring.
Know What You NeedThere are certain things you will need money for every week and there is no way around it. These are the items that you need to budget for carefully so that you can always meet your responsibilities. When you begin to total up your necessities, don’t forget to include:
- School supplies (books, paper, photocopies, etc.)
- Emergencies (doctor or dentist visit, medication, etc.)
Know What You LikeWhen you’ve listed out your utter necessities, you have the bare bones of a budget. This means that you could live without spending money on absolutely anything else, though you probably wouldn’t want to. If you can afford to spend a little more, consider making room in your budget for:
- Coffee or a meal out.
- A few drinks at the weekend.
- A new item of clothing or two.
- Entertainment (DVD rental, cinema tickets, etc.)
- An affordable splurge (a new CD, tickets to match, etc.)
- Savings contribution.
Know What You Can Live WithoutUnfortunately, most big-ticket items, the kind we all spend months lusting after, are out of the scope of a student budget. Don’t even think about splurging on:
- Gourmet cuisine.
- Designer gear or shoes.
- Unnecessary technology (big screen television, video game console, etc.)
- Weekends away and mini-breaks.
- Sun or ski holidays.
Know What You Can Make HappenEven though splashing the cash isn’t an option for most students, there are other ways of making good things happen. Remember that you can always:
- Walk instead of fill up the petrol tank.
- Borrow books and DVDs from the local library.
- Swap clothes and accessories with friends.
- Score vintage finds at used clothing stores and charity shops.
- Host a pot luck supper rather than going out.
- Use the University computers and Internet connection.
- Take advantage of a student health centre or gym.
- Produce your student ID to get cut price tickets to cinemas, exhibits, restaurants and more.