How to Budget When Your a Broke Student
Managing an effective budget while your getting a university education isn't easy. There are a lot of
things to pay for - from your rent to your books and even food to keep you going through the week.
On top of that, there's not a lot of time left in the day to work and earn a substantial income to pay for
you and all your bills when you're attending endless lectures.
The good news is that it is still possible to have a budget when your a student, you just need to know
where to get started. The following tips will help you to get the most out of cash as you expand your
1. Track All of Your Spending
It might not sound very exciting, but tracking your finances is a crucial way of making sure that you
donover-spend and ruin your budget. Create an excel spreadsheet or graph that shows how much
money you're getting from your student loans and scholarships (as well as part-time jobs), then list all
the outgoings you have to pay for.
This should give you a good overview of your limits. Remember, if you want to keep your monthly costs to a minimum, be careful when it comes to loans. You can always compare your options online to make sure that your getting the lowest interest rates and the best deals for students.
2. Be Smart About Food
Ask any student who came before you, and they'll tell you that food can end up being one of your
biggest costs if your not careful. Start off by making sure that you always choose the supermarket own brand of products over well-known companies, also a good idea to shop late at night when
your supermarket is discounting a few items too.
Wherever possible, look for ways to chip in for big meals with your housemates, as this will give you
a way to cut down on your extra expenses. If your all planning meals in advance, you be able to do
a more cost-effective big shop You can also save money on food by taking your own thermos of
coffee and a sandwich to your lectures, rather than visiting a café with your friends.
3. Don,t Pay Extra for Transport
Most students don't have the cash to pay for things like car insurance and road tax when there going to university, so there's a good chance that you'll be relying on public transport. The good news is that
most universities are situated in places with great transport links. If your taking the train, you should
be able to buy a 16-25 railcard that will cut down on your expenses each year.
On the other hand, dont forget to check out the local buses in your area. Busses are one of the
cheapest ways to get around in any city or town, and some will come with their own student discount
fees and monthly passes that you can pay for too.
4. Make the Most of Student Discounts
It's not just trains and busses that are willing to give broke students a break when it comes to prices.
You'll find that there are plenty of food outlets and shops that offer student discounts out there too.
Even if the discounts aren't advertised, it's a good idea to ask if they are available before you buy
something. UK students have the benefit of being able to buy an NUS extra card from their student
union for about £12 a year. There are plenty of discounts to be had with an NUS card, including 10%
off at your Co-Op supermarket.
5. Buy as Much as You Can Second Hand
Don't expect to live with a lot of luxury when your a student. Ultimately, you'll be looking for ways
to just get by as comfortable as possible, which often means buying furniture and other items second
hand whenever you can. A particularly good thing to buy second hand are your course textbooks.
These books can be seriously expensive, so if you can find some for cheaper online, or borrow some
from your local library, you'll be able to save yourself a small fortune.
Books aren't the only essential item that you might be able to save some money on too. Find out how
much your university charges for things like printing and scanning documents. If you think your
going to spend a fortune on these things, you could ask your housemates to chip together for a second-hand printer.