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Student Budgeting Guide 2017

Getting away from home and having the freedom to do whatever you want, when you want to, may be an exciting thought, but you will need to think about how you are going to afford living your life as a student.

In order to avoid maxing out your credit cards or starving yourself, you need to sit down and work out a realistic budget.

Your student loan is not limitless, and if you are not planning on getting part-time work whilst studying, your funds will be even more constrained.

Setting a budget and sticking to it should mean you won’t be losing sleep over money worries during your time at uni.

We've put together these tips to help you live a cheap and cheerful student life.

Find out what you need

There are certain items that you will need to have cash for every week and there is no escaping it.

These are the things you need to budget for carefully so that you can always afford to purchase the essentials.

When you start to add up what your necessities will cost you, don’t forget to include:

  • Rent
  • Heat
  • Electricity/gas
  • Water
  • Food
  • Telephone/internet
  • Transportation
  • Study supplies (textbooks, paper, photocopies, etc.)
  • Tuition fees
  • Emergencies (doctor and/or dentist, medication, etc.)

Think about what you enjoy

When you’ve made a list of the absolute essentials, this is the bare bones of your budget.

This means that you could live without spending money on anything else at all, though you probably wouldn’t want to!

If you can afford to spend a little more money, you may want to consider allowing for one or more of the following in your budget:

  • Coffee or a meal out
  • A few drinks at the weekend
  • A new item of clothing or two
  • Entertainment (DVD rental, cinema tickets, etc.)
  • An affordable splurge (a new CD, tickets to a sports match, etc.)
  • Savings contribution.

Realise what you can live without

Unfortunately there are some things you will realise you will have to live without during your time as a university student.

The following are some things you shouldn’t really be thinking about splashing out on:

  • Gourmet cuisine
  • Designer gear or shoes
  • Unnecessary technology (big screen television, video game console, computer games, etc.)
  • Weekends away and other short breaks
  • Sun or ski holidays

There are things you can make happen...

Although splurging money isn’t an option for most students, there are other ways of making good things happen. Remember that you can always:

  • Walk instead of fill up the petrol tank (if you have a car)
  • Borrow books and DVDs from the local public library
  • Swap clothes and accessories with friends
  • Find new clothes at discount clothing stores and charity shops
  • Host a supper at your digs rather than going out
  • Use the University computers and Internet connection
  • Take advantage of a student health centre or gym
  • Always carry your student ID with you so you can get reduced-price tickets to cinemas, exhibits, theatre shows, restaurants and more

Living on a shoe-string budget can be tough, but it’s also a great chance to be creative and find out just how little money you can live on.

Most students find their days at university are rather frugal, but as long as you make a realistic budget and stick to it, there’s no reason that they have to be punishing!