Budgeting for College: Simple Tips and Strategies for Saving Money as a Student
- 21st December 2023
- Education and careers
As a kid, you probably played the popular simulation video game, Farmville which requires you to manage resources, make strategic decisions, and allocate funds for various activities on a farm. Much like the budgeting and management skills you employ in the digital realm of gaming, real-world budgeting and financial management become essential from the very moment you enter university.
Starting university offers you financial freedom which is often accompanied by several challenges. You will be accountable for your tuition, rent, food, transport, and other miscellaneous expenses which if not managed properly, can land you in financial turmoil. However, with some simple budgeting tips, such as tracking your income, categorising the expenses, and creating a plan, you can save money for your short-term as well as long-term goals.
If you are a budding college student, here is a guide on how to budget for college and save money.
What is Budgeting and Why is it Important?
A budget is a projected breakdown of income and expenditures over a defined period. Budgeting refers to the process of creating a detailed plan for managing various expenses. A well-planned budget allows you to utilise your resources wisely and achieve your financial goals.
Most college students rely on part-time jobs or financial aid to cover the expenses of their education. With effective budgeting, you can control your expenses and make the most of your available funds without having to worry about debts or emergencies. Budgeting reduces financial stress during university and also helps you invest towards your future goals. By learning to budget in the early stages of your university life, you can develop good financial habits that will help you in your personal life too.
How to Budget as a University Student
Budgeting tips for students come in handy when you are a fresher at university. As a student, you can use various techniques for budgeting ranging from budgeting apps to Excel spreadsheets. Choose a method that best suits you and follow these tips to save money at university.
Calculate your income
Tracking your income is the first step to an effective budgeting strategy. Take note of all the money you receive from various sources every month. It is also essential to categorise fluctuating and consistent income as it helps manage spending well.
Track your spending
To create a budget, you must know where you are spending your money. Keep a chart and enter every penny you spend for a month or two. The trick is to be honest with yourself so that you have an idea of where your money goes.
Categorise your expenses
Separate your spending into different categories such as food, accommodation, transport, utilities, insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses. You can also try the ‘need’ and ‘want’ categorisation to keep a check on your spending. By understanding your fixed and variable expenses you can always adjust your spending in case of an emergency.
- Calculate your monthly expenses
Once you categorise your expenses, refer to your bank statements and estimate the amount that you spend on each category every month. Tally your income and expenses and see whether you are overspending in any areas. Also, check for any surplus each month.
- Create a plan
After you get an idea of your expenses each month, create a plan keeping in mind your short-term and long-term goals. If you are spending beyond your income, check for areas where you can cut down spending. If there is any surplus, you can move it to your savings or keep it aside as an emergency fund.
You can also try implementing the 50/30/20 rule where 50% of your money goes to needs, 30% to wants, and the remaining 20% to savings. Although following this can become difficult during some months, you can still try to stick to this method to ensure that you create a safe financial future.
Tips and tricks for saving money as a student
University life is an exciting journey but can lead to some hefty costs. Here are some money-saving tips for students to follow to enjoy life as a student as financially responsible as possible:
- Take advantage of student discounts and coupons wherever applicable
- Cook your meals at home and cut down on ordering out
- Consider a roommate if you won’t be living on campus to share the expenses
- Use public transportation whenever possible
- Make use of campus facilities, such as healthcare and fitness centres, to save money on these memberships outside
- Limit your credit card usage as it often leads to overspending
- Shop for your wants from thrift stores and limit branded shopping to a minimum
By following these tips, you can save money while still enjoying college life.
If you are an aspiring college student looking for admission to your dream course, check out the various undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered at the London School of Business and Finance, Singapore (LSBF SG).
LSBF offers various business, finance, and technology courses that are designed according to the changing demands of the global job market. At LSBF, you will get access to state-of-the-art facilities and experienced faculty members who are the best in their fields.
You can also work part-time in Singapore to earn an extra source of income to support your needs.
Join LSBF to kickstart your career journey!
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Throughout the programme, you will develop your understanding of global strategy, international marketing, sustainability and international entrepreneurship.
This MA programme will help you understand about international business strategy whilst developing your leadership, problem-solving and collaboration skills.
Focus on economics, business and business statistics in the postgraduate diploma to excel in your career or even progress onto an MBA programme.
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