5 Budget Tips For Students

by khalid on 27/10/2011 · 0 comments

Headed to university and not sure how to manage your money? Read these five money-saving tips for a better budget.

Being a student isn’t cheap. Aside from tuition (and universities aren’t shy to use debt collectors), you also need to pay your books, your lodging and your food at the bare minimum. Without time for a full job and with part-time jobs paying as little as they, how do you manage a student budget? Here are some of our best tips.

Make a budget

Sounds obvious, but not enough students actually have a budget that’s down on paper (or on an Excel file if you’re the geeky type). They’ve never had to deal with money on their own and they know little about managing income and expenses.

Sit down with a parent or a financial expert and prepare your budget before you move out to the campus. It’ll help keep things clear and prepare you for the sacrifices ahead.

Get a part-time job

Even if they pay the minimum salary, part-time jobs are great for bringing extra income, to put experience on your resume and to expand your network. Who knows that your coffee shop job might not turn into a manager position when you graduate?

Just don’t work more than 15 hours a week during the term; otherwise, your grades will suffer.

Work during the summer

Unless you’re taking an accelerated program that involves full-time summer studies, you usually have four months of free time to actually get a full-time job and save up for the year ahead. A lot of students actually avoid student debt because they work hard in the summer and don’t need a student loan to carry them out through year.

Many companies are willing to hire people over the summer. Check your university’s job board or enroll in a co-op program for the best opportunities. Many summer jobs can turn into a full-time career after graduation, too!

Use those pots and pans

Ask your mom for her best cooking tips and use them during school. Side by side, it’s at least twice as expensive to eat out than to make a home-cooked meal. Even cafeterias are expensive compared to cooking your own food.

A bonus: you get to know what’s in your food (no hidden MSGs, fats and sugars that can make you gain weight) and you get to develop a skill that will follow you for the rest of your life (there’s nothing more attractive than a date who knows how to cook!).

Buy and sell used

This applies especially well to textbooks. You can use Amazon or eBay if you can’t sell your book back to the university bookstore, but most bookstores will buy back popular textbooks for a decent price. Always buy used if it’s available, or share a textbook between classmates for the really expensive ones.

With a lot of dedication and discipline, it’s possible to go through university without accruing much debt. Fast loans should only be used in emergency situations and when you’re sure you can reimburse the debt quickly. Avoid credit cards as much as possible; if you have one, have the limit brought down to minimum.

Good luck in your studies!

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