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Essential Budgeting That All Students Should Follow

You are probably already aware of how expensive it is to study. You have also probably considered that you’re going to have to tighten your belt, perhaps even take a job. It’s going to be difficult and you’ve got three years of it, perhaps even four if you decide on a postgraduate qualification. So, what are the vital budgeting rules that all students should consider at the start of their course?


Most of today’s students will be spending borrowed money which has to be paid back at some point in the future. The future right now may seem far away, and not something worth worrying about for now. Don’t forget – the more money you spend, the more debt you’ll have to deal with at the end of your degree. Spending carefully is essential.

How do you go about creating a budget?

Once you’ve had your fees, and calculated any grants and savings you have, you can start to work out exactly how much you have in your pocket once you’ve paid your bills.

What are your outgoings?

Take out costs and see what you’re left with. Work out how much you can afford to spend on nights out – and stick to it. It is also a good idea to use online banking to keep in touch with what you’re spending and don’t include your overdraft facility, this should only be used in emergencies.

Flashing the cash

While you’re a student you may find that there are a lot of students whose budgets may not be as small as yours. There may be some that don’t need to budget at all. You may be friends with some of them, however don’t try to compete with their spending. They may have money to burn which you don’t, so don’t be tempted to compete. Try to find some other students who are in similar situations to yourself who will be budgeting just like you are. When you do go out, only use the amount of money you’ve allocated yourself for nights out.

You don’t have to live on beans

As part of your budgeting routine, hopefully you will have given yourself enough money to spend on food. You don’t have to live on Pot Noodles and beans throughout your time at university. Make sure that the money you’ve allocated for groceries is a realistic figure.

There are plenty of books out there that can help with budgeting and spending wisely. Due to the recession, a lot has been written on how to live on a smaller budget and eat healthily. Take advantage of the cook books out there and hint heavily to your parents, you don’t have to follow it religiously, but it can give you ideas on what meals to prepare.

Enjoy the student life

Going to university should be the time of your life and it can be, as long as you spend wisely. Once you’ve worked out how much money you have and what your outgoings are, you’ll have a better idea of what you have to spend. And that’s when the fun starts, because once you know you’ve got all that sorted you can start to enjoy yourself.

Sally Edwards has just completed a degree in geography and enjoys providing student advice and guidance in her spare time. She also blogs for Vita Investment property Manchester.