If there’s one thing you need while you’re at uni, it’s a plan for saving money. With all the studying you have to do, if you have a job, it’s likely part-time. Your student loan checks cover housing and sometimes other expenses, but you have to make that last for months. According to a recent survey, 79 percent of uni students worry about making ends meet.
Learning how to understand your income and expenses, as well as making your money stretch is a critical skill for every uni student.
No worries. We’ve got you covered—here are some of our fave budgeting tips for students.
Use a Budgeting Tool
Budgets—if you’re not a math lover, the word may make you cringe, but don’t discount the power of being money savvy. Budgets let you see exactly how much you have to spend each month. Some people prefer paper budgets or spreadsheets, but if you hate dealing with details, there are many budgeting apps to help.
With these digital programs, you just plug in your monthly income along with bills and expenses, and the app does the rest. Here are a few options to try:
- University and Colleges Admissions Services offers an online calculator for uni students. This is a good basic option to start your budget.
- Money Dashboard or Money Lover: Both apps are simple and intuitive. Money Lover will even alert you ahead of time to a recurring payment before it’s deducted from your account.
- Curve: If you have multiple credit or bank cards, consider an app like Curve where you combine all cards into one Curve card. You can see what’s in all of your accounts in one place, move money, if necessary, and track your spending.
- Monzo: This is a digital bank account that you can monitor at your fingertips. All bank transactions are trackable through your account. If you have a direct deposit through your job, it’s available one day earlier. The app also shows you where you spend the most each month. (Which, let’s face it, can be a bummer to acknowledge but a step in the right direction to budgeting!)
Now that you have the foundation to understand and visualize your budget, use the following hacks to save more money.
Automatically Transfer Funds
This trick is like hiding money from yourself. The idea being you won’t spend money you can’t access. Set up automatic transfers in your bank account. Whenever you get paid for your job, (or your student loan check clears), transfer money into savings. Also, set up automated payments for bills, then leave spending money in your checking account. This way you won’t be tempted to spend mone you should save.
Cut Down on Travel Costs
Just getting around the city can be expensive, let alone travelling to visit family or friends. For uni students in the UK, one of the best discounts you’ll find is on the 16-25 Railcards. This programme gets you 30 percent off your rail fares (for trips £12 or more).
Another excellent option for travel savings is the Young Person’s Coach Card. As their website explains; “If you’re aged 16 – 26 or are a full-time student, [this] card gives you one-third off all our standard and fully flexible fares and 15 percent off travel to events and festivals, all for just £12.50 a year or £30 for three years.”
Travel costs can add up quickly, so make sure they’re included in your monthly budget and use discounts wherever you can.
So many small and large businesses offer student discounts. Sometimes the promos may seem small or insignificant—like 10 percent off—but remember that every little bit helps!
For Dubliners, you’re in luck! This busy, uni-dense city offers tons of discounts. Hop over to our exhaustive guide, to learn more.
Another fabulous tool is the National Union of Students’ (NUS) TOTUM card. TOTUM serves as your discount card for retailers, restaurants, concerts, and much more. The card costs £14.99 for a one-year membership.
Take Advantage of Free Events and Perks
Your university and student accommodation definitely offer free events (with food, drink, fun activities). Tuition and rent payments include those opportunities—so take advantage of them! Why pay to go out, when you can go to amazing, free events?
(PS: LIV’s Student Experience Programme offers expert talks/debates, food masterclasses, music sessions, pop-up residencies and more!) Spending less means more money in your budget for other items!
Save Money by Using Budgeting Tips for Students
Budgeting for uni can seem overwhelming, but taking these few simple steps can help you take control of your money. Use these budgeting tips for students to understand your financial situation and save money while still having fun at uni!