How to Budget as a Student

You’re taught a lot of things in school, but one useful thing you don’t learn is how to budget as a student. What does budgeting as a student mean? This means that the ratio of your expenses to your income and savings is balanced or equal. You don’t want your expenses to be more than your income and savings as it will create a lot of financial problems for you such as debt. Budgeting is the first step to creating healthy spending habits, a healthy relationship with money and freeing yourself from financial stress in your life.

In our experience, there are so many college and university students who wished that they had some sort of education about how to budget as a student. So, have a look at this article and the information you will learn in the next few minutes will come in handy for the rest of your life.

How to Budget as a Student

To learn how to budget as a student is important because if you are unable to budget, then it is going to be very hard for you to graduate debt-free. So many students graduate with crippling amounts of student loans, which might have been prevented by better budgeting as a student. Even if you study on a student loan, budgeting is also very important when you want to pay it back because bad spending habits will always catch up to you.

For example, if your income is $1,000 per month and you’re spending $1,100, the extra $100 spent per month will eat into your savings and may cause you to take out a loan. This sort of debt piles up because as students it is hard to earn a high amount of money while being a full-time student. This makes budgeting in your student years even more important.

How to Calculate your Basic Expenses

The first thing to know about how to budget as a student is calculating your basic expenses. Your basic expenses include the cost of your education, rent, food, and travel. These four things are the most basic expenses that you’ll have as a student. Try keeping track for one month how much it costs you eat, live, get to and from school, and study. This amount would equal your total monthly expenses. Sometimes it’s hard to calculate how much you spend in a month for tuition since it is charged every semester. For this, you can take your tuition bill amount and divide it by the number of months in the semester.

How to Calculate your Income

After you have calculated your basic expenses it is time for you to figure out your income. Think of your income as the input and your expense as the output. You want your income to be more than your expense and that is why you need to create a solid budget.

List the ways you are earning money. Your income could include part-time jobs, maybe your family members giving you money or any kind of scholarships and financial aid. Your income is the key to your budget. Once you calculate how much income you have and your expenses, your final result should hopefully be a positive number. That means that you want to be able to keep some of your income at the end of each month so that you can save it for difficult times.

How Mobile Apps Can Help you Budget

Luckily for us there is great software available to help teach you how to budget as a student. There are numerous money managing apps available for download on your mobile phone. These apps are great for tracking your expenses. To start managing your expenses, you just need to download an app and put in the total income you have for that particular month. After that, you can enter all your daily expenses in the app and it will remind you over time so that you can record your expenses.  

What if my Expenses are Higher than my Income?

You might finish calculating and see you have higher expenses than your income. This is completely normal because most of the time students will have very little income but high expenses due to tuition. You do not need to panic. Find out how much you are going over your budget. There will always be a solution to this sort of problem.

See what is causing your budget to be out of balance. Is it maybe that your basic expenses are too high or is it something else?

Check out your money managing app and see where you are spending most of your income. If it is on your basic expenses, then see if it is possible to bring down any of those expenses. If it is not possible, then you need to find out some more sources of income.

How to Create More Sources of Income

This goes even beyond how to budget as a student into the realm of balancing a budget. One of the first sources of income you should look for is scholarships. There are different types of scholarships available and you can try applying for all of them that are available to you. If you are a student who has good academic marks, you should try finding and applying for a scholarship.

If your grades could use improvement but you still need to have some sort of financial aid, you can consider applying for a bursary program. Bursaries, unlike scholarships, focus on student’s financial need more than their academic results. Find out if the university you are attending offers any sort of bursary program and try applying for that if it is possible.

You can also try applying for grants. Grants are another kind of financial aid given to students who are working on a research project that has significant potential. To help pay for the expenses, an institution can grant you money while you complete your research. Some grants are also given based on the students’ needs and academic merit.

If you are someone who enjoys researching you can try applying for a student research position. Most universities offer student research positions for students who are interested in pursuing research under supervision. All you need to do is find out what student research positions are available at your university and sign up for one that you are interested in. Universities pay students who are working as student researchers, so that can be a source of income.

To find scholarships, grants, or bursaries you can go to GrantMe and sign up for a program. We offer unique services to help students by matching you with the scholarships that are best suited for you. All you need to do is go to our homepage and request a scholarship assessment. We not only help you find the perfect scholarships; we also help you apply for them.  

Budgeting as a student can be a bit hard sometimes but all you need to do is have discipline and work through these tough times. It will help you get through your college and university life debt-free.

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