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Using a student budget template to track your spending

Read our guide to spending and saving responsibly in university.

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Being a student isn't easy, especially on the financial front. University dorms tend to be expensive, school fees are higher than ever and small purchases like textbooks, stationery and take-out eventually add up. Here's our guide to creating a student budget template and three important tips to help you reduce your spending while in school.

How to make a student budget template

A student budget template should include all your expenses and a comprehensive list of your different income streams. Income streams could refer to the monthly allowance you get from your parents and any side-income you get from part-time work. Expenses would refer to items like transport, school fees, textbook fees, dining expenses and rent.

Split your expenses between needs and wants. You could use the 50/30/20 rule and allocate 50% of your income to essential expenses, 30% to non-essentials and 20% to savings. Alternatively, you could play around with these percentages to create a budget that best suits your financial needs. Another popular allocation, for example, is the 80/20 split where 80% of your income goes to general expenses and 20% to savings.

Once you've set your budget, eliminate unnecessary expenses and subscriptions until you meet it. This could include eating out less, buying cheaper brands and cancelling active subscriptions for products you don't use regularly. Taking these small steps to reduce non-essential spending could go a long way in helping you stick to your student budget template.

If you want to get started right away, here's a template you can use.

*Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this calculator, the results should only be used as an indication. They are neither a recommendation nor an eligibility test for any product and should not be construed as financial advice, investment advice or any other sort of advice.

Three tips to save up while in school

After creating your student budget template, consider some tips to reduce your spending. Here are some great ways for you to lighten the strain on your wallet.

#1 Learn to distinguish between essential and non-essential spending

This tip extends beyond just a simple student budget template and is applicable to any budgeting you do in your life. Consider limiting how much you spend on goods that aren't critical for your immediate quality of life. This may include unnecessary beauty products, exorbitant clothing purchases and frequent dining out. Look through these expense categories and figure out which ones you can live without.

There are always alternatives to each of these non-essential expenditures that you could consider instead. Try buying groceries in bulk and cooking more meals at home, or consider looking for free alternatives to premium app subscriptions.

#2 Rent or borrow items while in school

Unless you see yourself casually browsing through your uni textbook as an adult, it doesn't make much sense to purchase a textbook in university. Most of these books will be essential for learning while in school but may offer little benefit when you graduate. This is especially important considering the high cost of textbooks. In fact, textbooks may be extremely pricey as suppliers usually have a monopoly on the sales of these items. Consider buying second-hand textbooks and lab equipment instead of buying brand new ones.

#3 Use a smart budgeting tool to stay on top of your finances

The most important aspect of saving as a student is being aware of your finances. While rushing from classes to social events, students tend to find it near-impossible to set aside time for monitoring their finances. Yet, this is an essential step to staying on top of your budget and cultivating healthy financial habits. Students should turn to convenient, smart money management tools like the Finder app.

The Finder app is a popular budgeting tool that helps you keep up with your finances. It allows you to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans and investments into a single dashboard. This means you can stay in control of your finances all day and monitor your money on the go. You may also track your expenses, check your credit score and get notified of the best savings deals – all for free. It's a convenient and handy tool for students to monitor their finances and to help them budget responsibly.

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