University, as any current or ex-student knows, can be expensive. Not only are textbooks often released, meaning that you can’t always go second hand, but food on campus doesn’t come cheap and there are often extra fees and expenses that seem to throw your already-tight budget right out the window.
We feel your pain. Here are six simple ways we’ve thought of to help you stick to a budget:
Budget in the First Place
It’ll be easier to stick to a budget if you have one in the first place. Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard – you simple record what you get in (your income) and what you take out (your expenses). Ideally, your income should be greater than your expenses to ensure that you’re generating some savings. If you’ve got a budget, you will have a clearer idea of your financial situation, and that in turn will help you to evaluate your current and future spending with great clarity.
Walk if you can
Transport is expensive but unavoidable, right? Well, not all of the time. Consider the fifteen-minute bus ride that you might take, half of which is spent sitting in traffic. Could you make it to your destination in similar time by walking instead? Sure you may have a student concession, but transport costs still stack up and when you think about, leech away at your already-tight savings. Why not walk more and therefore have more to save or spend?
Pack your Lunch
It is a widely known fact that buying your lunch, whether on or off campus, is costly. An easy way to stick to a budget, therefore, is to limit yourself. Maybe you could pack your lunch from home instead and only treat yourself to a bought lunch once a week. Not only is this a simple way to save, but it’s also healthier and more environmentally friendly, since take-away often comes in a plastic box and bag.
Join a Club (or two)
University clubs and societies exist on campus for all different kinds of reasons. At least some, we suspect, exist for the purpose of food, whether it be a vegetarian society or chocolate lovers club. Since you’re at university, why not capitalise on these groups? Sign up is usually only a couple of dollars which means you should break even easily after attending a few of their events (or food giveaways). Chances are, they will have funding from the university union that they are all too happy to use towards giving their members cheap lunches and treats. So you can eat up!
Limit your Printing
Printing is another part of university life that just seems unavoidable yet makes your wallet feel just a little bit lighter every time. To avoid this, try to limit your printing as much as possible. If it’s a few pages, why not just read it on your computer screen and then note a few key points in your exercise book? It might help more than highlighting anyway! Or else, if you do need to print a whole chapter of a book, consider teaming up with a friend and sharing the cost!
Make Friends and Borrow
While some textbooks do indeed constantly update with new editions, often you can still use the previous year’s textbook for this year’s class. In situations like this, it helps incredibly to have friends in higher grades who will be happy to lend you their old textbook (and maybe even throw in some notes while they’re at it). It’s not all one-way though – remember this is a great service to offer to those in lower grades to you later on in your uni degree!
- Image credit Cheap photos
Alice Johnson is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in business and smart money management. She loves learning about different investment strategies and has been exploring Clime SMSF recently.