When you’re a student, there are lots of different strains on your finances. As well as paying your fees and accommodation, you still have to balance the cost of textbooks, feeding and clothing yourself and of course, the all important socialising. If you receive funding or a loan when you start a new term, you need to be able to manage it for the rest of the term. We’ve compiled a list of top budgeting tips for students to help you make the most of your money.Plan your Budget
Planning a budget will help you to ensure you don’t run out of money too soon, leaving you struggling to make ends meet. Before you spend anything, you should work out exactly how much income you have and then how much you have to pay out for essentials like fees, rent, household bills, any credit cards or debts and your phone, travel and food costs. Once you subtract the outgoings from the income then you will see how much you will have to spend on other things, such as textbooks, clothes and socialising. Of course, it’s no good doing all the planning and then forgetting about it. Keep a note of what you spend, or set yourself a weekly budget so that you make sure you can keep socialising until the end of term. You should also review your budget monthly amending any changes to your income or outgoings.Learn to Cook
A big way to save money when you’re a student is learning to cook. Being able to provide yourself with delicious, filling meals will help you avoid the inflated prices of ready meals and takeaway dinners. You could ask your parents to give you some tips before you go, get yourself a cookbook or get on the internet and check out some of the many sites specialising in the student meals. When shopping for your meals, be careful not to overspend and stick to your budget, writing a list before you go a is great idea to help with this. Focus on buying staples and versatile foods that can be used for more than one dish which will help you to avoid waste. Also, never go shopping for food when you are hungry, it’s a sure fire way to go over budget.Take advantage of Student Discounts
From £12 a year, you can get a discount card from the National Union Students. There are over 170 savings you can make with your NUS Extra card, over a whole range of different brands. From eating out to fitness, technology to holidays, you can save from 5% to 50% using your card. There’s also a National Rail 16-25 card, which costs £30 a year but will save you a third on all your train journeys. Keep your eyes peeled for other discount available to students and don’t be afraid to ask if shops offer a student discount.Be Smart When Buying Books
Buying used books from your local stores or over Ebay is a great way to save money on your course. Take advantage of your campus library as most of the books you will need for your course will be there, if someone else doesn’t have them out already. You could even buy books with someone else on your course and share your resources.Get a Part Time Job
Having a job at university can seem counterproductive, as the time you spend working will be time that you can’t spend studying, but be honest with yourself. Are you really studying during all your free time or could the time between classes be used to help you earn some extra money? If you are a sociable person, getting a part time job in a bar or restaurant will enable you to meet people outside of your course or your dorm as well as making some money to help supplement your lifestyle. If you like shopping, try to get a job in a shop which offers staff a discount so you can grow your wardrobe without your bank balance suffering. Or if you are focused on your course, you could try and get some work in the same field. There are many websites for freelancers where you could sign up with your skills and cherry pick the jobs that suit you on a freelance basis.
The above tips should help you to make the most of your money while you’re studying, but don’t forget the main reason you are there. You are paying for your university course, so make sure you go to every class!© Suprijono Suharjoto | Dreamstime.com