Tips for saving money while attending university

Creating a budget and executing it are two different things and it’s important to execute the budget that you invested the time to create. PHOTO | COURTESY

Summary

  • University is supposed to be about learning and there are lots of things to learn about money management skills through different tools such as budgeting.

The university years are typically a student’s first steps into adulthood. So it is the perfect time to start establishing good money habits such as savings and budgeting.

University is supposed to be about learning and there are lots of things to learn about money management skills through different tools such as budgeting.

Money is a subject that is unavoidable regardless of your current stage of life.

When you’re a university student living away from home, you try to make sure you don’t run out of money but unfortunately, it happens often.

Therefore, most university students are tempted to do ungodly things such as having sex for money, selling drugs, and stealing because they run out of money or don’t have enough money to meet their necessary needs.

One way to avoid this situation is by creating a budget. The basic principles of budgeting, like living below your means, still apply even when you are in university, hence the budget should include the same things adults deal with after school – how much you spend on food, rent, clothes, entertainment, etc.

Creating a budget and executing it are two different things and it’s important to execute the budget that you invested the time to create. And through the budgeting process, you will be able to save money and avoid wasting money on unnecessary expenses.

This week, I will share the three ways to cut costs while in university.


Course materials

Textbooks could eat up a large chunk of your budget. It’s a common practice to purchase all your textbooks in university but this option is expensive.

The best options are either to rent the textbooks from friends/colleagues or buy used textbooks from used bookstores or colleagues who are a year ahead of you.

There are different used bookstores in Tanzania that can help you with that as well as libraries that can guide you to find cheaper textbooks.


Housing

Housing costs cannot be avoidable but they can be controlled. Whether you live in dorms (on the school campus) or off-campus accommodations, housing is likely to be one of the largest expenses.

The general rule of thumb is that, if your college is in a big city then it will probably be cheaper for you to live on campus but if you are attending a university in a small town, then it’s cheaper to live off campus.

Another effective way to cut housing costs is by having roommates; living with roommates can save you money on rent as well as other living expenses like groceries.


Entertainment

It’s university, so I understand you need to have some fun. Go out clubbing, and eat out but make sure when you do that, you aren’t spending the money that you might need for important things (necessities).

This is the area where more money gets mismanaged than any other area on your budget.

The best way to ensure that you spend as much as you can afford on entertainment is to save money little by little whenever you can and put it aside in a piggy bank for entertainment purposes.

In conclusion, the challenge is not making a budget; it’s sticking to it. Being responsible with your budget isn’t about not spending money, it’s about spending wisely.

The basic principle of budgeting is to never spend more money than you make, otherwise, you run the risk of getting into debt that might be difficult to get out of.

This is important for any stage of life but more important while you are in university since it’s where the foundation of adulthood is made.

Therefore it’s worth it to invest your time to create a budget that works for you and once you have done that, you will be able to see clearly the areas where you can save as I’ve shared in this article.

Lastly, I want to remind students that it’s easy to forget about a budget when you can live freely off loan money but keep in mind, that an education loan is not free money. It’s a debt. And you will have to pay it back so you will be better off living within your budget throughout your time in university.