Unfortunately, budgeting is an essential part of life for many students, especially if you are trying to avoid getting into huge debt. While many courses are sure to make you money in the future – for example, if you are studying an MBA from The University of Maryland, you’ll have fantastic MBA career opportunities once you graduate – you need to get there first. Here are some great tips to help you budget.
Make a List
Sit and write a list of all your outgoings. Include absolutely everything. From food shopping and toiletries, to nights out and travel costs. Remember to include any course costs, such as textbooks as well as tuition fees. For things like nights out, which can be variable, use last month’s expenses, if it was what you would consider a normal month. Also, write down the dates any bills leave your account, and any money that comes in.
Now, work through your outgoings list one thing at a time. Is there anything that could be cut completely? Maybe a gym membership you barely use? Follow that with any reductions you can make. Do you need that many minutes on your mobile phone contract? Lastly, look at your service providers. You might be able to save money by switching, or even save on your existing deal if you tell the provider that you are considering switching.
Spread Your Outgoings
Now that’s done, look at the dates of your expenses. Are there any weeks when you have several bills going out? Then some with none? Try to spread them through the month. A lot of companies let you make these simple changes online. If you do wind up with a low outgoing week, use it to do a big food shop, or even for a luxury like a big night out.
Have an Emergency Fund
Try to save a little bit whenever you can. Even a few dollars a week can add up. Keep it in a separate account so you don’t end up wasting it. Then save it for any emergencies, or unexpected costs. You can’t budget and prepare for everything.
Make Some Extra Cash
The best way to avoid debt, aside from applying for scholarships and bursaries, is to earn. Even if it’s just a little extra for a night out, it helps. These are some of the best ways to earn extra money while you are studying:
- Get a part-time job. You don’t want to end up neglecting your studies, so try not to work too much. The best jobs for students are those related to their course, as it’ll give you some valuable experience.
- Blogging. Student blogs are incredibly popular, and can be very successful. Again, relating your blog to your studies can be useful. Ways to make money include hosting sponsored posts, affiliate links and advertising.
- Online surveys. These won’t make you a lot, but it’s easy money.
- Selling your skills. If you are a keen photographer, you could sell your images to stock sites. Any crafts you are skilled at making can be sold on Etsy. Or you could find work as a freelance writer or designer.
Following these tips should help you manage your money, without having to wonder, is an MBA worth it? Small changes, and small regular savings, can make a huge difference. Try to be careful, and there is no reason you shouldn’t have a fantastic university experience.