Are you getting ready to move out and head to university or college? It’s an exciting step, and there’s a lot to think about. If you’re getting ready to go, you’ll want to know how to student budget effectively.
It’s the first time you’ll be handling all your finances on your own, so here’s some tips on how to do it well and ensure you can fund your student essentials and still have a good university time.
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1. Get Into Couponing
When you think of people who coupon, you think of your mum or grandma clipping out coupons to use at the grocery store. It’s not cool, but it can save you a fortune. There’s coupons out there for almost anything, so always search online before you make a purchase. It’s amazing what you can find out there.
Consider too joining supermarket loyalty schemes, that way you will benefit from discounts on a regular basis and as you shop more your profile learning will mean at least some of these really align with the things you want to buy.
For example, in the UK, you have Tesco which now actively encourages membership of their Clubcard scheme and through this they provide differentiated prices in their supermarkets. You can also use loyalty points to purchase vouchers to use in their partner stores, for example restaurants or simply use against your shopping bill. It’s a no brainer, if of course you have a Tesco near you!
Other shops and supermarkets have their own schemes that it’s worth you looking into.
There are some apps that can even do this for you. “If you don’t already use Honey, you’ll want to get that browser extension now” says Evan Ballingham, a budgeting blogger from My Writing Way and Resumention. “It looks for coupons when you’re shopping online, and applies them for you to save you money.”
2. Try To Start Paying Off Your Student Loans
Depending on you and your situation, this may not be possible and of course within your student budget you still have to fund your time at uni.
However, if you can, don’t wait until graduation to start paying off student debt. The sooner you can start paying the better, so try building payments into your budget.
Don’t worry if you’re only able to make small payments at this point. Even if you’re just paying off the interest, you’ll be able to make a decent dent in the loans by the time you graduate.
3. Try To Create Some Savings as Part of Your Student Budget
Yes, you’re on a tight student budget and no doubt being able to create some savings feels like the last thing you want to do. You may not want to include a set amount of savings in your student budget rather just save what you can when you can.
The thing is, emergencies happen and you want to be prepared for them. If your car breaks down, a roommate moves out without warning, or your laptop needs repair (might be worth considering gadget or contents insurance for this), then you’ll be covered.
Again, save what you can, even if it’s a small amount. That way if something does happen, you have a financial cushion that will help soften the blow for you and you won’t hit the student budget allocation you have in other areas or put yourself more at risk of going into debt.
4. Invest Your Spare Change
This is something that a lot of students are doing right now, as it’s easy to do. There are lots of investing apps, like Acorns or Moneybag, that can do this for you. You just link up your debit or credit card, and then every time you make a purchase, the app rounds up the amount to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change for you.
You’ll be saving money, as well as investing it and getting the opportunity to see it grow. If you want to get more out of your money or learn how to invest, this is a good way to do so.
5. Use Your Student Email Where You Can
Your student email address can bag you discounts in so many places, so make sure you’re using it wherever you can. For example, you can use it to get Prime Student on Amazon, and get a cheaper rate for all the benefits that brings you.
Make sure you’re always checking to see if a student discount is available. There are so many places that will discount prices for you, so ask and find out. There’s things like UniDays of course too.
6. Take Classes At A Community College
Is your student budget tight and you’re still trying to save money on your education? Then your local community college can be the way to go. “You can go to a community college instead of a traditional university, and get the same level of education depending on your subject” says Shanice Devlin, a writer at Let’s Go And Learn and Studydemic. “It’s also a good option if you’re looking to reduce the time you spend at a regular university, to save on the fees.”
Before you head off to college, start looking into whether a community college can make things cheaper for you. Your school should be able to help with this.
These are some of the best tips for students just about to go to college or university for the first time. If you set your student budget and take care of your money, you’ll be able to get through your studies without having to worry about cash. Try these tips out, and you’ll see how much easier it’ll make it.
Of course, as with all investment and financial decisions, you need to review your needs carefully and make final decisions based on your needs, seeking professional advice if need be.