Back to School Tips: Budgeting for the Upcoming Semester

By King's University College Modified on August 23, 2022
Tags : Money

Set yourself up for financial success to make the most of returning to campus on a budget.

Back to School Tips: Budgeting for the Upcoming Semester

While summer's in full swing, it's time to begin preparing your budget for the upcoming semester. Whether it's your first or final year at post-secondary, managing money as a student is important and can help you stay on track financially. Check out these tips!

Create a budget for your lifestyle

Making a budget can be overwhelming, but some organization and setting up your personal financial priorities will save you later.

List out all expenses and sources of income in front of you using an app, Microsoft Excel, or a physical template (PDF). Decide what basic expenses you have, such as food, utilities, transportation, tuition, textbooks, school supplies, etc. Also include consistent monthly bill expenses, such as rent, cell phone, vehicle payment, insurance, etc.

Next, include all sources of income in your budget — loans like OSAP, scholarships and bursaries, a part-time job or work study, savings, allowance from parents, etc. Clearly seeing what you are contributing to your budget will help you figure out how much you can distribute to spend, and where.

Decide on what's important to you for spending

Now that you know where your costs and income are in your budget, set aside an amount for personal use. You get to decide where you want to spend your money! Going out with friends, events that you want to attend, and joining a new club are a few ways that this money can be used to support a social student lifestyle.

Remember to prepare for unexpected costs that may arise, like a taxi home or a library fee.

It's also crucial to gain a sense of your spending habits by looking back and deciding where to cut costs. Using your student bus pass, and grocery shopping to eat at home are great ways to save as a student!

Exploring student discount options from pre-existing memberships can also help. Determining what's important to you to spend your money on also means setting boundaries with yourself.

Set boundaries

Creating limits on spending provides financial freedom and security, and helps build strong habits. Track your spending — this method will be different for everyone, but weekly or monthly are ideal to stay on top of your habits.

Make sure to set realistic goals in a time frame that works best for you to spend and save consciously. Especially during times of high stress, being disciplined in your financial boundaries will ensure that you meet these goals for the semester.

Access financial resources

Managing your money and sticking to a budget is a life-long skill that takes practice and knowledge, so it's important to educate yourself about managing finances, and accessing financial resources. Make sure to include a regular savings plan in your budget, be accountable in your spending habits, and reassess if your budget is not appropriate. Budgeting as a student is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Therefore, another excellent financial resource is reaching out to the people around you who are managing their money. Talk openly with a student mentor, family, and friends to gain insight about their experiences. You may even incorporate some of their tricks into your own budget!

Also be sure to check out the free Financial Literary Resources offered by King's and other resources offered through Western's Off-Campus Housing Office. There are specific services available to help you during this transition as well, such as the Student Financial Services Counter.

We hope that this article provides you with some useful tips to create a personalized student budget for your upcoming semester.

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