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Anxious about directing your money in the right direction at the university? Well, don't worry we've got you covered! Pursuing higher education at a reputed university is a necessity in today's competitive era. The applying procedure and choosing the course of study might not be an easy path to walk on but at least the students are aware and careful while treading it, however, students often forget about the budgeting aspect of university life altogether.

Learning to manage your money as a student will help you to develop a sense of balance and control over your money. It is important for any student to have a full understanding of what money is coming in and what he needs to spend in order to manage the flow.

This article will help you with all the necessary tips on how to manage your money while studying at a university. It will also shed light on the various modes of income in a student's life along with highlighting the expenditure areas of his academic living.

Modes of income for a student

The first and foremost step in managing your university money is to sort out the minimum income coming to you in a year.

Here's a list of income sources available to a student

  • Student loan along with the maintenance loan: A student loan covers the amount of your tuition fee and will go straight to the university. However, the maintenance loan is supposed to cover a student's living costs. This loan is majorly granted to students with low household income, while a student whose household income is higher he can apply for a lower amount of maintenance loan. The amount of maintenance loan you will receive depends on where you live during your studies.
  • Parental contribution: You can include the contribution made by your parents in support of your studies in the income budget of your university life.
  • Income from work: Many students opt for part-time jobs, holiday jobs, or summer jobs to save up money for your university. This will also help to gain work skills that can be beneficial in future as well. You can also consider a gap year to save extra money before starting with your university life.
  • Savings: If you've saved money ahead of going to your university, you can include that as your income in the student budget.
  • Selling things you longer need: If you have any valuable items that you no longer use or want, you can consider selling them. This can range from clothes to electronic devices, to mobile phones, or computer games.
  • Bank overdraft: Remember that bank overdraft should only be used when you need emergency cash because the bank will charge you interest once your studies are completed. When you select a student bank account, get the one with a good deal on overdrafts to gain benefits.

Areas of expenditure for a student

Once you've sorted your income, the next step in managing your university money is to look at what you'll need to spend.

If you're heading to a university for the first time, it is better for you to estimate some costs in advance. Update your estimates with the actual spending, and be honest about what you spend. The expenditure costs can be divided into two groups

Essential Expenditure: The costs that cannot be ignored or delayed and are often on the top of your list come under this category. These costs are often paid once in a month or even less frequently. Here's a list of some of the essential expenditures

  • The tuition fee of the university
  • Rent or accommodation cost
  • Utility bills (gas, water, and electricity)
  • Mobile phone, internet, and television packages
  • Insurance

Variable Expenditure: The expenses that can be controlled more easily by a student are counted under the category of variable costs. Before spending money on something, you should always ask yourself if there is a cheaper way to get what you want to save extra expenditure. The items that can be considered as variable cost are

  • Food and Dining
  • Books and course costs
  • Travel
  • Clothes, personal care and fitness
  • Leisure activities

Drawing up your student budget

Student budgeting simply means taking up a realistic approach at all the money you're expecting to come in as your income and the costs you plan to spend it on. The aim of drawing up a budget is to balance both the income and expenditure amounts and even better, saving up some money to spare for the future.

If you are estimating costs, it is better to overestimate and find if you have money to spare or not. Once you've calculated your income and the essential expenditures you can divide the remaining money by the number of weeks left in your academic year. You need to be aware of what you're actually spending and how it will compare to your estimated budget. If you're going over the determined value, check your list for what savings can be made with minor adjustments. If you're struggling financially, take necessary actions and seek appropriate help.

You don't want the money worries to affect your studies as well so speak to the advisor at your university if need be. You can also be eligible for university hardship funds. Otherwise, it is best to pick up some part-time job to support your financial requirements.

Tips to manage your money

If you're facing financial issues in your college life, don't panic! Most of the students in a university live on a budget only. You should act smartly about the way you spend your money. Always remember that the key to financial success is by being aware of the ways you're spending your money. Also, there is a difference between being cheap and being spending savvy. There's nothing wrong if you live within your means rather than beyond. Here are a few tips that can help you to stretch your money further

  • Buy or rent second-hand textbooks to save costs on course material.
  • Sell your last semester's books to help other students on a budget and also for earning a little extra money.
  • Avoid making impulsive purchases.
  • Do not go grocery shopping when you're hungry.
  • Limit the number of times you dine out in a month or week.
  • Smoking and drinking are not only terrible for health but are expensive as well therefore it is smart to cut out vices to save money.
  • Avoid late fees charges by paying the bills and rent on time.
  • It is advised to pay off your credit card as soon as possible to avoid a bad credit score.
  • Save on fuel and maintenance charges by walking at nearby distances or using public transport or by using a bike instead of a car.
  • Look out for shared accommodation options so that you can split the cost of rent and other utility bills.
  • Avoid buying expensive cable packages for the television.
  • Opt for a basic phone package or plan that include unlimited message services with the free incoming facility.
  • Do not buy the most expensive college meals plans because they look appetizing. Get a package that includes what you can actually consume and save the extra costs.
  • Shop at places where you can get student discounts by looking at your id so that you can enjoy the benefits appropriately.
  • If you are a fitness freak, instead of opting for a public gym membership you can look for a gym in your campus which often offers memberships for free or at low prices to students.
  • You can split the cost of grocery with friends while you plan dinner. As it is you'll be cooking for more than one person for sure.
  • You can sell in your used items to help those in need while you earn some extra cash.
  • Do not buy unnecessary school supplies just because you think you'll need them in future. Why buy notebooks when you can type notes on your laptop? It's better for the environment as well!
  • Do not buy or rent books required for a short period of time, get them issued from the campus library instead.
  • Use the activities available on your campus to entertain yourself instead of spending money on going out and spending on leisure activities. Campuses offer movie nights, organise social events, and have an array of museums to explore at cheaper rates or free of cost.
  • We know that relaxing is also necessary but let the expensive spring breaks and summer trips take a back seat for a while and go for alternative options of volunteering instead.
  • Attend your classes instead of skipping them. You're paying for those lectures and missing them means throwing the money out of the window.
  • Coffee shops are quite expensive and add up a lot to the expenditure. Therefore, it is better that you make your own coffee.
  • Avoid purchasing expensive music packages for entertainment when you can use free services of Spotify or Pandora.
  • Use a free financial tool to keep track of your finances efficiently. It’s harder to be frivolous when you see where your money is going.

Use appropriate measures at the right time to avoid being distracted from your studies because of the financial troubles. You can only enjoy your university life by keeping the financial troubles at bay.

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