Budgeting for college is never easy but it does help if you think through all the areas you will need funds for and the different expenses you will need to cover.
First, there is the first week of your college life. Now is the time when you need to be careful because you will have money in your account and there are so many opportunities to spend it. New clubs to join, new gear to buy, student shops, student clothes, all these things can eat into your budget big time.
Before you go to college, it is worth while setting down a list. Firstly, the big things – stuff for your room like bedding, crockery if you are self-catering, clothes if you need any and books. All these are major expenses and you need to budget for them. Food is a big item in expenses but there are ways to save including buying packets of staples like rice and pasta and buying different things to go with them. You will find cheap places to eat and if you share, you may find eating is not as expensive as you thought. Student dining areas tend to have good priced , healthy meal options and these can be mixed with the odd tinned meal.
There are other expenses which you may not have thought about. Travel may be one of them if your room is any distance from college. Find out if there are regular buses, college buses and if you can get a cheap travel card which allows you to travel cheaply. Your course may have specific requirements which will need to be part of your expenses. Science courses for example may require you to have a dissection kit, scissors, slide glasses or other things so make sure you are aware of any particular requirements for your course.
Stationary is expensive but often,there are student outlets in college or near campus which offer good priced materials.
Laundry is an expense some students forget to include and the bills can add up. Again, if you share a load of washing and drying with another student, you can halve your bills.
Of course, socialising is an important part of college life and you should not avoid going out to avoid any costs. However, limit yourself and be ware of spending too much. If you have a kitty for drinks,make sure everyone pays their share and if you have drink parties in your hall, make sure it is clear who brings what to avoid waste and unnecessary expense.
College life is whole new start and opens many doors and living on a budget is part and parcel of the experience. Don’t panic, keep to your limits and you may even find you end up with a few extra dollars to spend.