Trying to save up money as a student is increasingly difficult, especially when living costs keep on rising. However, there are some great ways you can budget to help with the cost of living as a student.
Tip 1: Budget Shop
Don’t be afraid to budget shop where you can, never sacrifice the freshness of your groceries but there are ways you can still get quality ingredients whilst on a budget. One of the best grocery stores to go to on a budget is Aldi, you aren’t compromising on quality, the only difference is the products aren’t made by mainstream brands. Always try and budget by sticking to essential groceries but never compromise on happiness, if having your favorite snack or drink will help once in a while then buy it.
Tip 2: Invest in a travel pass
It’s important to take into account the amount of traveling you will be doing as a student, if you can safely walk to the places you need to go then there is no point in investing in a travel pass. However, if you are going to be traveling a lot, it is far better to invest in a monthly or yearly pass, although it is a lot at the start of the month, at least it is paid for and you no longer have to worry. If there are any student discounts, incentives, or exemptions on travel passes then take it if you are doing a decent amount of travel.
Tip 3: Sacrifice
Sometimes, it is important to know when to make sacrifices, if that means skipping out on an event or party every now and again it’s worth it. Definitely don’t sacrifice the experiences you may have as a student but there’s nothing wrong with just sticking to the ones you definitely want to do and skipping out on the rest. Some experiences ultimately won’t be worth the money you spend on them and that money would be better served for other things. Learn to distinguish what is important and what will turn out to be more of a waste of your money.
Tip 4: Shared Housing
If you’re in a position where you have a good friend(s) you can trust that are maybe attending the same college or a different one within a similar radius then look into sharing accommodation. Although the number of things you use will increase, such as groceries, electricity, etc, you’re now splitting those costs between two people. This should work out cheaper, if you arrange a set of established rules before moving in together to ensure costs are kept to a set price. It’s even better if your college has its own accommodation, which should already be subsidized.
Tip 5: Save
Where possible try and work before starting college to ensure you have some money in your savings account that you can use in case of an emergency. You should only use this money when you absolutely need to if you don’t have enough for groceries or bills for example. And when you can always try and put money back into that savings account if you have used some of it. You can do this if you get help with money through your college or if you are working part-time. If your family is involved or they give you money for Christmas or birthdays you can always put that money into your savings instead of spending it.
Tip 6: Never use private loans – Ask for Help
Never try and get extra money through private loans or credit cards if you can help it, as this only puts more debt on your plate and you never know if you are able to pay it back when the time comes. However, do, look around and see if there are things that can help you, like extra grants from your college, or look around for places offering student discounts when needed.
Being a student is a stressful time, especially when you have to figure out how to budget your money on top. But it is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where you will make new friends and have new experiences and remember there is always someone out there that can offer help or advice. Your college should always have someone available to talk to you about financial, housing, or mental health problems, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.