20 essential budgeting tricks every student should know

October 28, 2014

Nobody said going to school would be easy or inexpensive, especially with bills to pay. To avoid getting weighed down in unnecessary debt, here are 20 essential budgeting tricks every student should know – whether you're planning to study away from home or not.

20 essential budgeting tricks every student should know

[Image Credit: iStock.com/mediaphotos]

Statistics show that today a majority of young people are in serious debt. This is due, in part, to the fact that students often have to work part-time, earning minimum wage, to make ends meet and pay for their studies. It's also due to the higher cost of living versus a few years ago. If you're planning to rent an apartment and study somewhere (even if you're staying put) here are 20 tips you'll want to know to help minimize debt.

20 essential money-saving tricks

  1. Start putting money aside in a savings account at least one year before moving into an apartment. This will avoid the feeling of being suffocated by standard living expenses.
  2. Determine your basic needs and income.
  3. Create a budget for the next six months and stick to it by updating it regularly.
  4. Use budget templates found on the Internet to create one tailored to your situation.
  5. Make sure your income exceeds your expenses, then set aside money to regularly deposit into your savings account.
  6. Do not touch your savings account for anything other than an emergency, and always replenish the balance as soon as possible.
  7. Reserve a portion of your budget to record unplanned expenses. You can adjust your budget as you go along in the coming months.
  8. Reduce your spending by sticking to the essentials. Be frugal and avoid unnecessary expenses.
  9. Avoid credit cards and credit margins at all costs. Use only the money in your savings account to bail you out of emergencies.
  10. To build a good credit record, pay your bills on time and maintain a decent balance in your savings account. There is no need to use a credit card to improve your credit rating.
  11. Find a full-time summer job to help pay your tuition.
  12. Rent an apartment that fits your budget and, if necessary, find a roommate.
  13. Make a grocery list before shopping and stick to it.
  14. Whenever you are about to make a purchase, ask yourself: "Do I really need this?”
  15. Instead of buying or leasing a car, use public transportation and bicycling to get around. Arrange to carpool with friends when you have to travel longer distances.
  16. Use your tax return to boost your savings account.
  17. If you have set aside an amount of money for recreation, withdraw it from your account and put it in your wallet. This is helpful because once you reach the limit, you’ll know to stop. Pub night is no time to make decisions about money.
  18. In order to avoid delays, arrange for pre-authorized payments for your bills.
  19. In case of an emergency do not hesitate to ask your family for help.
  20. Think about your future. The temporary inconvenience of sticking to a budget is well worth it in the long-run. If you give in to the temptation of over-spending or buying on credit, you will start your life off in debt.

Starting out on the path towards higher education can be a challenge, especially if you've never lived away from home before. But there's no reason it should become a trial by fire particularly where money is concerned. With a little planning and a few rules to follow, you can have fun while studying and save money.

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