Managing your finances and counting money might seem like the worst and the most uninspiring thing to do at the end of a busy day filled with all sorts of tiresome activities. But it is something you must do to make sure you have enough money for all the essential and non-essential things you need in your everyday life. Apart from just saving money and not wasting it left and right, planning your budget might be a good idea for achieving certain financial goals and piling up some decent budgets for your big buys. Regardless of your goals, saving money, and planning your expenses is essential as it improves your financial literacy, which is highly important for everyone.
Why Do Students Need to Plan Their Budget?
Why do I need to plan my expenses when life is so fun and awesome when you are a student, you might ask? Student life is really fun with all the parties, small trips, alcohol, and all that good stuff, but behind that lush and fun hides the need to adopt a more responsible lifestyle that includes some boring stuff and not just parties. There are many more reasons to plan your expenses than not to plan them, and here are just some of those:
- You’ll need that in the future: do not doubt it a moment, everyone needs to know how to spend money properly, how to save it, and how to make good use of it. You might be making a lot of money in the future, but it would be of no use if you don’t know how to spend that money wisely.
- It’s actually beneficial: you’ll not understand that until you try it – go ahead and start keeping track of your expenses, and in a matter of months, you’ll start seeing a huge difference in your financial status.
- Identifying redundancies: let’s face it, we waste a lot of money on redundant stuff we don’t even need and stuff that gives us no benefit at all. Even though sometimes those redundant things might mean the world to us, it is best to limit expenses on that unnecessary and harmful stuff.
- Start saving: yes, the earlier you start, the better. Start saving money up, and this will surely give you the edge over your peers who don’t do that at all.
Typical Student’s Expenses
Well, since we are done with the main reasons as to why you should take care of your budgeting and plan your expenses, it is time for us to look at what most students spend their money at. With that out of the way, we will be able to move further to discuss the ways you can actually start planning your expenses and design your own college budget easily. The student expenses are all over the place, so you will need to organize them and divide them into different types. Here’s how you can do that:
- Tuition – you will surely be spending most of your or your parents’ money on tuition itself. Depending on the country you live in, it may take a different amount of money. You might even be so smart or lucky as to study for free, which is just awesome.
- Housing – might be the second biggest expenditure for most students, so you need to take that into account when planning your budget.
- School Supplies and Books – again, depending on the country, these might be expensive, cheap, and even free. Either way, you need to understand what amount of money it is going to take.
- Transportation – whether you use public transportation or own a car, you’ll need to spend some money on it. Please, note that in your calculations.
- Personal Expenses – this might be anything from video games to clothing, so you need to calculate how much you can afford spending each month.
- Groceries – the essential thing that keeps you, well, alive.
- Parties and Trips – non-essential things that actually justify you being alive.
How to Start Planning Your College Budget
- Calculate Your Tuition Expenses – how much does it take to study in your college for a year? Divide that into 12 months, and you will get yourself your tuition price for a month.
- Calculate Lifestyle Expenses – how much do you spend on food, clothing, parties, and all the small things in life? You need to know that.
- Create an Expense Plan – calculate how much you can afford to spend on a monthly basis.
- Find the Ways to Make Money – get yourself a job.
- Follow Your Plan – be consistent, follow your plan, and you will achieve all of your goals.
10 Ways to Save Money in College
- Don’t Buy New Textbooks
The new textbooks might be crazy expensive, which is why you might want to find the used books from senior year students. Find people who studied the same subjects, contact them, and try to buy books from them. In any case, that would be cheaper than buying new ones.
- Use Discounts
In most countries around the world, students can receive discounts using their IDs, which is highly beneficial for your budget. Use your ID to get cheaper transportation, books, and other things the country might provide for the students. These discounts may make your life so much easier.
- Take Food from Home
Sometimes the classes might take too long, and you might get really hungry, and the first idea you might have is to run to the nearest café or fast food and get some food. It would be much better to bring some food with you, not only it would be cheaper, but it might also be much healthier than eating fast food.
- Monitor Your Cell-Phone Expenses
This is simple – do not talk on the phone too much and avoid using data. Try to find free WIFI spots and use them instead of wasting money on scrolling your Instagram feed.
- Don’t Be Careless at the Party
Parties are fun and all, but they might also be really expensive. It does not mean you should avoid parties altogether, you just need to be careful when spending money. We all know that moment when you feel like buying the most expensive drink on the list and also buying some drinks for your friends, alright. Try to avoid those moments and you’ll be fine.
- Buy Stuff is Bulks
Buying stuff in bulks or bundles might give you a discount. Some stores provide some decent discounts for bundle-buyers, which is great. That way you can buy groceries for a week or two and save some money by buying stuff in bundles instead of going to the store each and every day.
- Travel Wisely
Try finding cheaper transportation, couch surf, sleep in hostels, and avoid eating in some expensive places. You can avoid traveling altogether, but if you are a wandering soul, you should try cheaper ways of traveling.
- Share Stuff with Peers
Sharing and swapping stuff with your peers is a great way to avoid buying stuff you need like once in a hundred years. Sometimes you just need that one device you’d never thought of buying, so it is much better to just borrow it from someone who has it instead of buying.
- Find Yourself a Job
Some extra cash would never hurt, right? I thought so, and that is why you should consider getting yourself some part-time job to get some extra cash in your pocket. You can apply for such classic student jobs as a waiter or a courier, which is a great way to improve your financial status.
- Don’t Waste Money Mindlessly
This is more of general advice – just think twice before you buy anything. Be mindful of your spending and make sure you only buy necessary stuff.
Useful Budgeting Tools for Students
Personal Capital – This is an investment management tool that allows the users to calculate the interest, save money, manage their spending, and understand how the investment basics work. This tool allows the students, and not only students, to manage their money in a more sophisticated but simple manner, which is essential for any person.
You Need a Budget – This is a great and really simple budgeting tool that allows you to track your finances and see whether you are being smart when spending your money or not.
Mint – Mint is a household name in the world of finance and budgeting apps. This one allows you to track all of your spendings seamlessly in any currency.
Pocket Guard – This app is meant to help you set up your financial goals, see the path to achieving those goals, and getting all the way up to accomplishing all of your plans. This app would warn you about potential pitfalls on your way too, so it really does guard your pocket.
Clarity money – Simple and really useful app that allows you to track the progress you make on the way towards your financial goals. A great tool for the students who try being more mindful of their spending habits.
Goodbudget – Same as before, the app is designed to help the users organize their budgets, create specific targets, and move forth to achieving their financial goals.
Wally – Wally, unlike that cute robot from the cartoon, does not pile up some garbage, it piles up your money. Use Wally to save more money and avoid redundant spending on all sorts of trash.
Acorns – At this point, it is not surprising that this app helps you track your financial progress and achieve your financial goals.
Every Dollar – Keep an eye on each and every dollar, and you will never spend too much. Your money is the asset you need to take care of, so you should value each and every dollar.
CountAbout – As you might have guessed, at this point, this app can help you count the money and spend it wisely. Just use it to have a better understanding of where your money goes.
Mvelopes – This one is meant to track your financial transactions and give you the picture of your spending over a certain period of time. Which is just another way to say tracking your finances.
BUDGT – As the name suggests, this is a budgeting tool that gives you a profound picture of what you spend your money on and how you can better save the cash.
Robinhood – Though it does not steal from the rich, it can surely help those who need some financial aid. This app gives you advice on where to get the best discounts and how to save money in a more efficient manner.
Debt.Org – This website is all about money and the ways you can use it to improve your situation at any point in your life. The idea here is to help people see ways to avoid financial pitfalls and create a healthier financial environment for millions of people around the world.
Money Advice Service – This is the website where you can get financial advice from the best specialists and receive some of the best tips on saving cash. If you want to learn more about money and the ways you can use it to your advantage, this might just be the right way.
Forbes – This is a high-end resource for millions of people around the world. This is a news outlet with a focus on the world of finances, and if you have that special financial bone in you, you can totally use it to your advantage.
Money Saving Expert – This is where the experts share their ideas on how to save money and gradually improve one’s financial position over time.
Step Change – This website can help you produce a positive change in different aspects of your life, including finances.
Microsoft Excel – Use this tool to create spreadsheets and calculate your spending and income. This is an easy to use and versatile tool you can use to calculate your budget.
Windows Calculator – Simple as that, it is a calculator, so you can use it to count your money.
Being able to plan your expenses and earn enough cash to make savings and live a full life is what we all strive for. Considering the fact that there’s literally no such thing as financial independence for most people around the world, it is best that you start paying attention to your money. That way, you can make the best use of it and turn it into anything you need it to be starting with commodities and ending with valuable assets. Money is complicated, but once you start to understand how it works and how to use it, it becomes much easier to live a decent lifestyle and not worry about cash to much.