Budgeting Tips for Students

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With the start of the school year just a month away, it’s time to start thinking about budgeting tips for students. Generally speaking, students don’t have many expenses but it’s during your school years that you really want to start practicing your money management.

This can be a bit tricky since summer spending affects a lot of people, especially students who have a lot of free time. But since your school isn’t going to teach you how to save or budget, it’s really up to you to figure it out. Don’t worry, though, these budgeting tips for students will help you keep your spending in control.

Be careful with your credit use

Credit cards are great if you want to build your credit history but they can be easy to abuse as a student. You’ll be tempted to start purchasing things with your credit card but with limited income, you might end up making just minimum payments which will cost you big in the long run. If you’re able to pay off the full balance every month, by all means, apply. Otherwise, it may make more sense to wait until you have income before you seriously consider a credit card.

Start budgeting

With limited income, you’re going to really need to watch your budget. Budgeting for students begins with writing down all of your income and expenses. Your income could be coming from a part-time job, your parents, and your student loans while your expenses are anything you spend money on. If you know your income is going to be an issue, then make sure you don’t eat too often or say yes to every social event where you’ll need to spend.

Watch out for fees

As a student, you really want to watch out for excessive fees since it can eat at your savings. ATM fees are an obvious thing to avoid. Do you really want to pay $2 every time you use an ATM now owned by your bank?

Assuming your school has a gym, maybe it makes sense to drop your regular gym membership. I’m well aware that a school gym is not nearly the same as a real guy but the idea is to save money on fees / services that you don’t need or already have.

Look for student discounts

Of all of the budgeting tips for students I’ve listed, this is my favourite. I love a good deal and when I was a student, I would be constantly be inquiring about student discounts. I would purposely only eat or drink and places with student specials. I also made sure to shop at places that offered discounts for students. One easy way to keep up with the best deals is to pick up a Student Price Card since it’ll give you discounts at thousands of stores and restaurants across Canada.

Find ways to save

Buying used books is a great way to start saving money, you could easily save 25-50% compared to buying new. Walking and using public transportation will be much cheaper than owning a car while learning how to cook will save you on eating out. You’ll also want to resist FOMO as much as possible. It’s natural to feel jealous of what our friends are up to but that doesn’t mean we can afford it.

Final thoughts

As important as it is to budget and save as a student, it’s just as important to spend a little. Make sure that you set aside some money for fun so you don’t stress yourself out. The goal here is to not save as much as possible but rather to find a balance that suits you.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

1 Comment

  1. DJ @ Money Goody on September 3, 2016 at 10:12 PM

    Student discounts are a big saver. So many companies like Apple, Adobe and some theaters have discounts for students. And even some companies that don’t advertise student discounts will give you some money off if you ask. Take advantage students!

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