For many students, university is the first time they will get a chance to live independently. This becomes an excellent chance to learn money management especially considering that income received from student finance, bursaries and scholarships, and part-time jobs may not be enough for many students to live a comfortable life.
Here are great tips to help you to master your budgeting and saving at university:
1. Determine your expenses
You need to calculate your essential living expenses including your rent, bills (including mobile phone and subscriptions), groceries, transport costs and course materials including textbooks. The amount will vary depends on where you will be living.
You will also need to estimate the costs for non-essential spending such as clothing, any nights, takeaways, restaurants, cinemas, gym memberships, beauty, trips and gifts for friends and family.
Using a budget spreadsheet can help you to calculate your expenses.
2. Work out your income
If receiving student finance, you will need to determine how much and what expenses that will cover. The amount you receive will depend on where your university is located and your household income. This is in addition to any bursaries or scholarship you may be entitled to which may depend on what your university offers or any organisations that you may apply to depend on your course, race, sex, gender or ethnicity.
You can also bolster your income by determining if you will be receiving any financial assistance from family, or by getting a part-time job.
3. Calculate if your income will cover your expenditure
You will need to find out if your total income will be able to cover your expenses. If the answer is yes, then all you need to do is keep track of your spending and make sure you do not overspend. If not, you will need to find ways to increase your income or reduce your expenditure and keep a very tight budget.
4. Always Pay your necessary expenditure first
It is always important to pay your bills first. Having a roof over a head and your bills paid is important for your well being as well as keeping your credit score intact if the bills are in your name. After that is paid, you can choose to save an affordable amount into a separate account and the rest can be used to pay for your non-essential expenditure.
5. Make your savings goals clear
Find out why you are saving. Is it for a holiday? An emergency fund? To start your investment journey? You need to know why you are saving and how much you will need each month and put that amount away after paying your bills each month.
Starting your university journey can be scary. There is enough to worry about but if you get your finances in order, get a part-time job if you need that, and get a budget plan in action, it should remove one of the biggest burdens off your shoulders.