student budgeting
Saving Tips & Tricks

How to Budget at College or University

We all know taking on college or university is a brilliant and exciting time for any young (or mature) student. However, it is one that does not come cheap. Starting off in a new place, city or state is scary and in the midst of meeting lots of new people, we can forget that we actually need to be very careful with our money! Here are some things that I found helpful for saving money when we were studying.

1. Work it out

Sit down and work out how much money you will have coming in, whether it be from your loans, working, parents helping you out. Then make a list of what money will be coming out of your account; bills, tuition, food and always allow for expenses- nights out, trips out with friends etc. This way you can stick to it and even aim to try and spend less than you intended!

2. Get separate bank accounts

This is a great idea for keeping your money super-organised! Having one account for food and rent and another for the none essential stuff such as going out is a really sensible idea. Transfer your money as you need to from each and don’t forget to budget enough for long periods of time off such as half terms and summer. There are even apps that can help you with your banking and your budgeting.

3. Don’t forget…

Many people forget to include certain things in their budget. How are you going to get around? Not everybody is lucky enough to have a parent or parents that fund a car for them, you will need to work out the cheapest forms of transportation to get around. Don’t forget you can get a Railcard if you are 16-25 that will get you a third off rail fares. Oyster cards are also great for saving money on the tubes. If you want to get coaches they are always cheaper than getting there by rail (because they often take a lot longer). Book longer distances ahead of time and save even more money, buying tickets on the day isn’t the best option.

4. Be food smart

If you are working on a budget, cooking on a budget can actually be easier than you may think. If you cook in bulk and freeze your food, this is a quick and cheap way to eat. Avoid ordering takeaway very often and just don’t be lazy about it. You may have to eat the same meals a couple of times a week but does that matter very much? If you and your friends eat out, take advantage of student friendly offers, look online before you go to any restaurant and you are sure to find some kind of discount code.

5. Charity shops are your friend

People can often turn their noses up at charity shops, but they are great! People donate designer clothes all the time, so why not have a root through your local Oxfam shop!? It is fun. Also, swap and share clothes with friends to avoid wearing twice.

Coming out of university with debt is almost inevitable. I took my finance savvy brain with me and still ended up struggling and coming out with debt. However, if I hadn’t have done these things, I’d be in a lot worse of a situation.

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