Five ways a student budget calculator can help you
One of the earliest and most difficult lessons for a new student is learning how to budget. This is because most of the time it’s parents or other caregivers who’ve sorted all the financial bits before a young hopeful heads off to university. Because of this, too many find that they are woefully unprepared for managing their own finances and the stresses of a first term at uni.
There is hope though, because any student can learn to operate a budget calculator with relatively little effort. In fact, outside of tracking expenses, there’s not even much required in terms of maths skills. It’s more about what you use it for rather than how you use it. As long as the numbers go in right way, and you pay attention to your balance sheets, it’s nearly impossible to mess up things when you track them with a calculator.
Read on to learn more about five ways you can benefit from your own student budget calculator.
1) Financial Planning: Many times, when using a budget calculator, you’ll realise that you’ve got a little padding in there you didn’t know about. This is often because the people providing your budget tend to overestimate expenses, while new students tend to underestimate. Without a budget calculator, students are left feeling like they never have any money, while the adults providing the budget feel like they’ve committed more than enough. By using a calculator, a student can get a little ahead of the game and save a bit at the same time. This little bit can add up, and later be applied to a wide range of purchases.
2) Budget Justification: Parents will often hesitate when a student asks for a budget increase or advance. However, when that same student can present their parents with a working budget, listing itemised expenses and a detailed record of transactions, anyone providing finances is far more likely to look favorably on the student’s money management skills. This will reassure those putting funds in that money isn’t being squandered on useless items, and also provide incentive for parents to give a little more.
3) Binge Purchases: We all binge at one time or another, whether it’s a late night snack after an unplanned pub crawl, or prawns one evening instead of the instant noodles most students subsist on. By budgeting properly, you can actually plan out binge purchases, and eat better at the same time. Also, you might even find space in there to actually purchase something other than food. Whether it’s a phone case you’ve been wanting, or any other reasonably low cost item, with a budget, you’ll be able to plan out exactly when you can make your purchase, rather than rolling the dice and hoping you can sort it without starving.
4) Discounts and Refunds: Did you know that planning a budget out and spending your money according to a schedule can actually get you money back? Other times it can result in discounts or points, as in the case of TESCO cards. Whether you’re working from a point scheme, or cash back plan, you can leverage your purchasing power to get the maximum benefit out of your money by using a budget. This is because you’ll be able to schedule purchases, and in scheduling them, make sure you’re getting the best deal for you, and choosing where and how you shop. Conversely, if you don’t plan a budget, you won’t be able to set things up properly, and will end up spending as you go, buying out of necessity and need, rather than according to a plan.
5) The Party Fund: Students that don’t like to party aren’t that common, and when you find them, they’re usually riding unicorns around campus. All of the other students tend to party a bit, and some even more than a bit. Whether it’s a pub-crawl, a private affair, or a group gathering somewhere, having a war chest for your party fund is essential to enjoying the social parts of campus life. It’s also a massive pressure release, letting the stress of exams and other demands of university life escape as you blow off steam. Planning and budgeting will let you know just how often you can party, and more importantly, when you can party. That way you can schedule your blowouts to coincide with finishing exams, or in some cases to the weekends before and after.
There’s plenty of time to have fun in university, and if you plan carefully, there’s also plenty of money to do it with. All you need is a little attention to the details of your finances, and you’ll be well on your way to banking a significant amount. In fact, if you don’t use your budget savings to party or cover binge purchase, you can probably save enough to buy a car by the time you graduate. All it takes is having a sound student budget, and sticking to it.
Photograph by Images of Money