Budgeting is a hot topic among university circles, unfortunately many students do not know how to properly budget for their needs.

It is extremely important for you to know everything there is to know about budgeting, so that you can allocate your limited finances to the areas that are most important while at university. These include food, accommodation, transport, utilities, insurance, books, and entertainment.

So if you are in a position where you are struggling with your finances and need to know how to budget, read the information I have revealed below.

1. Books and Course Materials

Books and course materials contribute to most of the upfront costs you will encounter when you begin university. Unfortunately, books are quite expensive, and will chew up most of your budget.

You can find a way around this by implementing the following money saving steps:

– Determine which texts you really need to buy, and borrow the others from the library

– Attend second-hand book sales, and buy used books from older students. You can then re-sell these books once you are done with the course.

– Buy directly from your university department or Coop bookshops, as many offer discounts and deals on books and course materials

2. Transport

Travelling to and from campus, as well as around town and back home during the holidays is quite an expensive effort. It is therefore important for you to budget travel costs, so that you do not overspend in this area.

There are many travel student cards that you can use to get cheap deals, and you can also book in advance so that you can benefit from lower prices. If you are in NSW, remember to use Opal card to get free trips after 8 paid trips, or travel on Sundays for only $2.5.

3. Food

Food is extremely important while at university, and reducing food costs by living off noodles and baked beans is not going to work.

There are a couple of tips that you can use to eat healthy on a budget, and these include:

– Cook food in bulk and freeze it. This prevents waste and stops you from spending money on a daily basis

– Write a shopping list before you go to the store, so that you do not impulse buy

– When you are out of the house for the entire day, make packed lunches so that you do not have to buy expensive restaurant meals

4. Study Expenses

There are additional study expenses that you need to be made aware of, including library fines, photocopying, and printing. Though these costs are low, they more often than not add up.

Avoid these costs by investing in your own equipment e.g. if you print often, buy a cheap but reliable printer.

5. Entertainment

University is a whirlwind of fun, with amazing entertainment opportunities like student nights, music gigs, fresher’s week, fancy dress parties, student union hangouts, and sports socialization occurring on a weekly basis.

You therefore need to allocate yourself a weekly entertainment budget, so that you can cut down on costs related to having fun. Alternatively, you can use student discounts to find cheap deals for theme park, cinema, restaurant, and theatre visits. Also make note of fee events- who doesn’t like free?

6. Utilities and Toiletries

If you are living off-campus, then you will probably need to pay for utilities as well as your rent. You need to cut your utility bill by saving water, gas and electricity wherever possible, and you should set up regular payments so that you do not spend money allocated for utilities.

When it comes to toiletries, exploit all special offers and affordable value brands- toilet paper, toothpaste, gel, soap, and other toiletries that you need.

7. Insurance

Losing a laptop, TV, specialist equipment, and Smartphone is quite difficult, and replacing any of the items is expensive. It is therefore wise to have insurance for any hi-tech gadget you might own.

If you are not already covered by your parent’s policy, you can compare insurance deals online and find a cheap student package that will leave you fully covered.

8. Internet

We all use internet, however, unless your residence is on-campus, you need to pay for your own internet consumption.

You need to compare broadband prices online, to find a package that offers fast internet services at a great deal.

9. Clothes

Many of us love looking good, unfortunately shopping is a habit that can get out of control pretty fast. When creating your clothes budget, remember to:

– Utilize student discounts as many shops offer 10%-20% discounts with student cards

– Use cash back websites for extra discounts

– Try clothes swapping as a cheap alternative

What did I tell you? These budgeting secrets are a revelation. So if you are struggling to hold on to your money, use these tips to ensure that you have an airtight budget during your time at university. They always work!

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