Tips for Managing a Budget at University

Firstly, this is by no means an extensive list of tips for managing a budget while at University. There are tons of resources, and I am sure from people with much more expertise than myself, out there on how to manage money effectively and advice on creating budgets. However, these are some tips that I have created from my own experiences managing my money while at University.

  • Decide on a budget for spending money organised by categories (eg. groceries, travel etc)
    • I personally like to create a weekly spending budget.
  • I would recommend that to create an accurate and realistic budget, that you take a couple months of normal spending to figure out what is your usual expenditure and so decide on an appropriate weekly budget.
    • This can also help you identify any leftover money you may have for other ad hoc activities or that can be set aside for saving.
  • As a student, it is important to consider some large initial costs that can occur particularly at the beginning of the year (eg. sport club memberships) and account for this in your budget for the beginning of the year.
  • Student discounts are your friend.
    • Find out what companies like Spotify provide a reduced student fee and make sure to apply these to your accounts
    • Most large retail stores also have student discounts. These aren’t always obviously advertised, but don’t be scared to just ask at the register if they have one.
    • Also, look into apps like Unidays that have an extensive list of student discounts.
  • Think ahead with subscriptions or memberships. Maybe you don’t need a membership for the full year, and paying monthly instead would actually save you money? If there are different tiers to a membership figure out you would make the most use of and be personally the most cost-effective.
  • This tip is not for everyone (and may become more difficult with some companies now discouraging account sharing). But, see if there is a way to share subscription costs (eg. Netflix) with other people (family members or a close friend).
  • It is probably a money tip people have heard countless times, but it truly makes a difference: Limit those takeaways.
  • The cost savings possible from bulk buying are often talked about, however honestly sometimes buying lots of an item because there is a deal on is not always the best when you’re just shopping for one. For dry foods, like pasta, or tinned goods, bulk buying can give you a really good deal. However, when buying fresher foods like, fruit and veg, buy smaller amounts when you need it. Throwing food away, because its gone off is just like throwing money in the bin. So think about your food shop carefully.
  • Lastly, think about items that you might be able to buy second hand (clothes, household items, cutlery).
    • There are tons of great charity shops in Dundee and other great stores like Tayside Reusers (furniture, household etc) and even the Dundee University Free Shop that can help you save those all important pennies.

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Hi, I am in my 4th year studying Environmental Science and Geography. As can be assumed by my studies I have a strong interest for environmental issues and a great love for the outdoors. Outside, of my studies I love to play basketball and am also an avid reader.

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