How To Budget As A Student

Budgeting, in general, is a simple concept. You take care of your income and outcome & hope there is a surplus at the end of each month. As I’m a fulltime student myself this topic is very special to me.Here I’m sharing some tips which I apply to live an okay-ish (c’ mon, the most of us aren’t financially free YET 😉) student life.The first situation when I learned about managing my money was probably at age 6 when I played Pokémon for the first time to make sure I can buy enough Pokéballs and potions. As I became the champion, I had enough money and didn’t need to worry about it ever again, haha. But in real life the rules are a biiiit different – you must have control over your expenses. To have control it’s important to face your financial situation, even if this may be feeling uncomfortable. And if you want to graduate without ending in debt, you’ll need to know a bit more. Make sure to take care of your mental health too!


Why you should budget

It may sound boring (something your parents told you, but you might be never really interested in it), but there are so many benefits in knowing your finances a bit better. Imagine your bank account as a large old sock which gets holes here and then. You open it at the top at the beginning of every month and fill it up – this is your income. But due to the holes some of your money flews away – these are your costs. But there might come a time where the number of holes increases. This is where budgeting comes in. You can darn some to keep your money level relatively consistent, so you can spend money on fun things as well (with a reason, of course). 

Write a list of your in- and outputs

First off, you have to know how much money you monthly have on hand. I don’t know how the conditions outside of Germany are, but in our country, you don’t have to pay taxes (except sales tax) if you fall under a specific income allowance. Read more about this here (only appreciable for residents of Germany). But you can easily google what is accurate for your country. Differentiate your expenses is mandatory and something like “fun activities” or actually “living”.

Examples of mandatory costs:

  • Bills
  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Books / Course supplies
  • Public transport tickets
  • Insurances
Write down exactly what and how much you need to pay each month. Sure, things such as groceries may vary from week to week, so calculate roughly in this case.After you’re done with it, you can see how much money you do have left. Depending on how much, you can use it for the "funnier" aspect of spending money.

Non-essential student costs such as:

  • Leisure activities
  • Nights out and/or eating out with friends (alcohol, food, taxis, and entries)
  • Hobbies
  • Gym memberships
  • Shopping
  • Haircuts and other beauty treatments
  • Maybe you’re like me and get a new tattoo occasionally
(Or better invest in your business or whatever goals you have.)I mean it’s important to think about your future and how you’re going to afford the lifestyle you want. You could (and should) save some of your money, if possible. So, you can use it later for bigger purchases, traveling or as assurance for hard times (could happen to anyone!).

Budgeting apps

If you’re not a fan of pen and paper (see the ambiguity), then you can use, thanks to technology, several apps to have an overview of your finances,Apps like Spendee (which you can also use in your web browser) or MyBudget (Android, iOS) will help you to put all your purchases into categorized groups (like rent, free time, etc.) and send you push-notifications as soon as you’re heading over your budget in one area.Some of them have a feature where you can set aside money each week or month without stressing too much about it! You see it’s possible to evolve a healthy relationship with money, even as a student! Make sure to get your spending and saving under control now! Know your money and then you’ll sleep better, become less stressed. Your future self will thank you.



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