7 Tips for Managing Your Shoe-String Budget in College

7 Tips for Managing Your Shoe-String Budget in College
  • Opening Intro -

    A shoestring budget is always difficult to deal with, but it doesn't have to mean that you live uncomfortably.


While you’re in college, learning to manage a budget might be one of the most important lessons you can pick up. Use these tips to spend only within your means, even when your means aren’t large.

1.  Create a budget plan

Start off by working out exactly how much money you have, and what you need to spend it on. Calculate any money you may have coming in, and then add up any bills that you might have going out. What’s left is your spending money. But don’t go mad just yet – you still need to cover essentials like groceries. Portion out how much you can spend on the essentials and then what you might have left over for things like school supplies, socialising, and luxuries.

2. Use your student status

When you’re shopping, always look for a student discount. Before you buy anything, check whether you can get it cheaper by showing your student ID. This will hugely cut down on your spending as many places will offer a significant discount of 20% or even more for students.

3. Shop discount

Rather than going to the big-name stores, try opting for a discount option. Instead of going to a fashion store, try a fashion outlet or a cheap store which might have good items hidden amongst the racks.

If you’re buying basics, consider going to a wholesaler and buying in bulk – getting enough toilet paper to last you the year in one go can save you a lot of money.

4. Have fun for free

Hanging out with your friends and classmates doesn’t have to mean spending money. While it might be a lot of fun to go out to the campus bar and let loose, you could also have fun in a park or in someone’s dorm with party games and conversation starters. Always consider whether there’s an option that doesn’t involve spending money.

5. Work together

Just as it’s cheaper to buy things in bulk, it can also be cheaper to do things with a close friend or roommate. If you both need the same things, consider going in together. You might be able to get a discount for buying twice as much, and you will save on travel or delivery costs by ordering at the same time.

6. Pick up some income

Try finding a way to increase your budget with part-time work. If bussing tables doesn’t seem like your kind of thing, you could always try doing some freelance work over the internet. It will suit your schedule as it’s a flexible option, and you can gain experience in your field of study which will look great to potential future employers.

7. Be frugal

Finally, try to hold yourself back from frivolous purchases and live a frugal lifestyle. While you might fancy a takeaway pizza on a Friday night, you’ll be much better off with tomato soup and a bread roll – both financially and health-wise. Living frugally will also stand you in good stead when you graduate, as you can save up for your own home or other expensive life milestones instead of spending your salary before you’ve earned it. Think of this as life training!

other valuable readings:

It’s important to manage your budget well, and it’s a skill that might be difficult at first. Use apps to help you track your spending and think hard about whether you really need every purchase until you’ve reached the right frame of mind.

Alex Lawson is a Financial Team Leader and a blogger, working together with other experts at Brighter Finance. Whenever not working on another project or helping customers with their financial issues, Alex may usually be found online, reading money-related blogs and sharing his tips with other experts.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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