Time at university can be quite stressful at times; with your studies, tests, course-works etc, but also managing your routine on your own with a limited budget. Let’s be honest, Universities are expensive and a HUGE investment towards our future, so it’s imperative that we plan out our journey in an effective manner.
Most of the students step into the university routine with little to no financial awareness and end up over-drafting their bank accounts way before the semester ends. The main goal should be to plan a financial budget that’s realistic and workable for each individual (have fun but not TOO much fun).
Here are some tips that can help students manage their finances a lot better:
- Establish your income and expenses:
The most important is to establish how much money do you have available to spend (after factoring out your tuition fees), and what are the main expenses that you will encounter during the semester, for example rent, transport etc, and try to give yourself a set allowance for each of the spending areas. Make use of local guides and university website to estimate some of these costs (i.e. total estimated living cost per annum).
- Try to establish a weekly budget:
Try to set a weekly limit as to how much you can spend and try to adhere to it. Try to estimate how much money you are likely to spend in a week and set the limit a bit lower than that amount if you want to save maximum money.
- Make use of Financial budgeting tools:
Make use of a spreadsheet, budget calculators, or other electronic tools that help you keep track of your finances. Mental cataloguing is not always helpful and having a record of your spending can help you identify where you need to spend what, and how to make savings. A lot of websites offer spreadsheet templates that you can just fill in with your costs, saving your time.
- Student Finance:
Try to get your student loans sorted before university begins, and make sure that you get all the student finance that you are entitled to including any scholarships, grants, or bursaries. Once again, all this information can be found on the university’s website.
- Keep an eye out for deals:
Always try to avail any discounts or cashbacks that you might be entitled too. Students are usually entitled to special discounts, or you can use apps like UniDAYS that provide special student deals.
Now just because something is discounted, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to buy it (something we forget quite often). Ask yourself: do you want it, or do you need it? Try to cut out these money-draining purchases that eat at your finances by making sensible choices.