Budgeting During School
Creating a budget and following it will help to ensure that you have enough money to last you throughout the school year. By knowing how much money you have, how much you can spend and how much you have to save at any given time, you will be able to reduce costs and have more money for the things you need to purchase.
Creating a Budget in Five Steps
Use the following steps to create a budget:
- use the Cost of Living Calculator to get an idea of how much it will cost for basic necessities in different regions of B.C. For information about additional costs you may not have thought of, visit the Financial Consumer Agency and click on Moving Out on Your Own (located under Choose a Life Event).
- identify your sources of income (ie: payments from student loans, paycheques or cash from part-time work, etc., and/or help from family).
- calculate your monthly expenses for the necessities you will need during the upcoming school year (ie: tuition, books, computer, food, rent, etc.).
- subtract your monthly expenses from your income to determine how much money you will need for necessities each month and how money you will have left over. Budget any leftover money for optional expenses such as entertainment.
- create a spreadsheet to track if you are following your budget. Each month record your income and your expenses, ensuring that your expenses don't exceed your income.
Tips to Reduce Costs
- Eliminate extras like daily coffee or eating out. While such purchases seem cheap at the time, they can easily add up and throw you off your budget. Use the tool at Increase Your Savings: See How Little Changes Add Up to calculate how much such expenses can add up over the course of a year.
- Identify and take advantage of student discounts. This can include products and services both on-campus as well as from participating stores in your community.
- Purchase used books.
- Switch to a student banking package with no monthly fees and unlimited in-branch and self-serve transactions.
- Avoid using credit cards and/or switch to a card with a lower interest rate.
- Shop with coupons.