Student life is a fun-filled rollercoaster, full of change and excitement.
Freedom, friends, partying and zero responsibilities.
The downside? being permanently broke.
The Student Money Survey 2020, undertaken for the last 7 years in the UK, found that 36% of students drop out of their studies due to money problems.
No one really warns us about the budgeting challenges of student life. It is still assumed that being broke is the student’s fate.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are wise moves you can make as a student to thrive within your budget!
#1 Know Your Costs
And stick to them! Rent, bills, tuition and food will be your primary fixed costs. If you drive, you will also have to consider gas and maintenance costs. Once your fixed costs are set, whatever you have left is for entertainment or savings. You can use a budgeting app or a spreadsheet to help keep track of costs.
#2 Learn Online
And cut your costs in half! If you are living at home with your parents and learning online you have no rent, no bills and no food costs. Or at least nothing extra to what you have now. If you don’t need to drive anywhere to study, you save on gas. Finally, some online courses cost less and you can access all course materials online, saving on textbooks. Curious about the other benefits of learning online? Check them out here.
#3 Live Within Your Means
Don’t spend money you don’t have! Every night can be a party night, so spend them wisely. Get used to saying no. Always ask yourself the question “Do I really need this?”. If you have housemates, see what costs you can share as a household to help each other stay within your budget.
#4 Avoid Credit!
At all costs! It is very easy to get caught up and forget the consequences of credit. $20 here, $10 there, it all adds up. If you can’t pay it back, the consequences for your future credit can be serious. There is no problem having a credit card for emergencies. But whatever you do, leave it at home on nights out!
#5 Build your skills
Both in financial and personal development terms. Take the opportunity to do some additional learning online to gain extra skills. Hope to travel or get a job with international prospects? Then learn a new language. Enjoy up to 15% student discount for online language learning courses with Preply.
Do you have any skills that could be applied to a small business? Get started now and it could become a big business by the time your course is finished!
#6 Get a Part-Time Job
This is a solid solution to the broke student’s problem and can be quite fun. If waitressing or retail is not your thing, check out some online tutoring. There is plenty of preparation advice online for your first classes. I hear you can even get paid for watching TV and calling when there is an interruption to programming…great for night owls.
Students get discounts EVERYWHERE! Anytime you need to spend some money, check what discounts are available for you. You may want to try couponing as well. Old school but effective!
The Final Cut…
Being a student is special. Even when you try your hardest, there will be months you eat poorly, spend too much money, and don’t work hard enough. But if you follow some of the advice above, you’re giving yourself the best chance at successfully surviving on a student budget.