Student budgeting really is an art form, and you do hear rare stories of students coming out of university not only with a degree but without an overdraft or any other debt except their student loan.
We applaud those students as it is an accomplishment! However, one thing that can be hard to master and isn’t always easily found in a textbook is understanding finance. Here are some student budgeting tips to help you during your studies from term time to later life.
You can see a student budget example online for help, but ultimately, you should pick the important things for you and then make your own decisions from there.
Stick to your limit
Another essential part of budgeting as a student includes understanding your limitations and knowing what to do if you go over that limit. You have a limited amount of money, and when or if you go over this limit it can be tough to know how to survive the week, month or term. Once your student budget is created, you should know how much money you have per day and what you can spend on what, e.g. on food or going out or shopping.
Keep an eye on your student food shopping budget and make sure you’re giving yourself enough to eat and enough to be able to budget next week.
Whether you are living in a house-share with other students or are just looking into your own personal finances, over calculating will always be better for you instead of under calculating. If you under calculate something on your budget, you will have to try to find this money somewhere else, and you might not be able to make that happen!
Obviously, you can use a student budget spreadsheet to help you out, but overall, try to overcalculate it where you can, it will help your student weekly budget in the long run.
Speak to any student, and they will likely tell you that overcalculation always factors into any typical student budget.
You can find plenty of student recipes that will keep costs down.
Ask for help
One tip that most students forget is that they can and should ask for help when they need it. For example, if you do run into financial troubles or unsure how to budget you can speak to your friends or the finance department at your university – they’re there to help! If you leave your problems too late, you might end up doing something you regret, making your problems worse or finding that you’re not paying for the things that you need to survive properly.
Create a budget planner
Before you go to university – or at any time during – you can create a student budget planner. A budget planner will be a useful tool to show you how much of your money is going out and how much you have coming in. Basically meaning how much money you have left to spend on what you want once you pay your bills and buy the necessities, like toiletries and food.
You can even create a weekly student budget spreadsheet (or student budget worksheet), which, with the correct formulas, will act as a natural student finance budget calculator.
Focus on the important things
First, get your bills and direct debits paid for, make sure you know how to do this without financially crippling yourself and make sure that you understand your student bills. These include your rent, phone, the internet, television, and any other bills you have. Once that is done you need to allocate travel expenses – like buses, trains and taxis if you have to take them – and your food shopping.
Distract yourself from temptations
If you are addicted to online shopping put blocks on websites or only allow yourself to window shop – cancel your account and never ‘save’ your card details. Having to input all of our information, create an account and all those verification emails might deter you! Don’t go out shopping with your friends if you have no money, sod’s law will guarantee there will be something that you want to buy!
Surround yourself with good people
We don’t all have the same financial situation, so you’ll find it hard to keep up with outgoing friend’s lifestyles if they can afford to eat out for every meal (if you can’t, look at some student budget meals for yourself) and go on spending sprees.
Don’t give into peer pressure, cut your cloth accordingly and don’t leave yourself short just because your mates tell you to.
Another essential part of budgeting as a student includes understanding your limitations and knowing what to do if you go over that limit.
Update the planner
If you have splashed out on something or an unexpected bill has come up you should input this in your budget planner. You don’t want to realise later on that you have less money that you thought or another bill can’t come out now!
Think of the food!
Food is an essential part of the fabric of university and having a student weekly food budget is essential to anyone!
You can find plenty of student recipes that will keep costs down too. The average student budget will likely take food into account beforehand anyway, but it’s best to plan ahead and make sure you're being well-fed and make sure you're keeping an eye on your student budget sheet as well.
A weekly student budget or a monthly university student budget is hard to keep track of or to control, so you can use a Student Budget Calculator, a Student Budget template or a Student Budget Planner. However, if you know what you can afford each day, it will be easier to manage.
The average weekly student budget takes unexpected things into account as well.