How to have healthy finances as a student

If you’ve come to University straight out of high school chances are you’ve never been solely responsible for all of your financial expenditure before. Sure you may have had to pay some of your expenses but now you’re responsible for them all. Scary isn’t it. Here are some quick tips to help you get your finances under control as a student.

Know how much you really have coming in.

Be informed about your income. How much should you be getting from Centrelink? Have you claimed everything you can – are you able to get rent assistance or a health care card? Will you have a pool of money saved up from your summer job? Don’t budget on money sources you haven’t confirmed yet. You may get a casual job at college, but you might not be able to find one straight away. Budget on the money you definitely have coming in not what you hope to get in.

Know how much your big bills are.

Rent, electricity, water, phone, internet, car/transport, medication/health expenses, textbooks, food. Budget out the things you have to pay first. You may not have all of these – for instance, if you’re living at college the rent you pay covers you for rent, electricity, water, and internet. Figure out how much things will cost you per fortnight and put that money into a separate bank account. Then don’t use that money for anything other than paying your bills.

Save for a $500 emergency fund

We know, it’s tough to save when living on a student budget – but you need to start saving for an emergency fund for when things go wrong. Even putting away a tiny amount each pay will help cushion you for unexpected expenses like car repairs, computer breakdowns, dental repairs or having to travel home unexpectedly.

Understand the costs involved in studying for your degree

Textbooks, computers, stationary are the obvious costs but does your degree have industry pracs included? Will you need a professional wardrobe and have to pay for accommodation and travel to the prac? Do you need specialist equipment? Should you belong to industry bodies or registration services?

Create a budget and stick to it

It can be as simple as a list on a post-it note or it could be a complex spreadsheet with formulas. Or you could use an app. Whatever works for you. But you need to have a budget and you need to stick to your budget. Got $20 to spend on entertainment this week? Don’t agree to a day trip to Coffs, find something cheaper to do instead. Monitor how much you spend and keep track of how you’re going.

Good luck!

#adulting #studentfinances #budgeting