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First Year on a Budget 

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]University expenses are rough. As the years go by, you’ll become better at the budget thing but here we give some tips for your first year on a budget.

It’s the fourteenth day of the month, you find yourself holding up a queue of ten people, while you fight with the First National Bank ATM trying to draw one last R50 note from your account. After three feeble attempts you decide to face your fear and check your account balance, it is as if your worst nightmare has come true… your balance reads R0.00.

You walk away feeling defeated and wondering how the hell you ended up here. This may seem a bit exaggerated, but believe me, knowing that you’re broke and not even half way through the month can become a frightening reality. You’ve heard the word every year in business class, but never thought you would have to resort to it so suddenly, but unfortunately first year, and in fact all other years in varsity, require you to plan a budget.

Moving forward on a Budget

For those of you who bunked every EMS period, and decided it was going to be the first subject you would drop in Grade 10, a budget is usually set out in monthly periods and allows you to plan how you are going to spend your cash during the month. Your budget will need to be personalised according to how much money you receive per a month and what your wants and needs are. It will also change according to your accommodation and whether your meals are included or if you have to cater for yourself.

All right, here are some tips to help you plan and stick to your budget…

  • It’s necessary to write out your budget and maybe put it up somewhere to remind you of your financial goals. First thing to write down on your budget is your income – whether it’s your allowance from your parents or the minimum wage you make at a part-time job.
  • Then set yourself some financial goals, in other words select an amount of your income to put away into savings, even if you’re only putting away R50 per a month ­– you’ll be stoked you did it in a few years.
  • Now, you need to calculate your needs (or expenses), this is especially important if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation; estimate the costs of groceries or the money spent on lunch at campus, petrol and any other essential costs you need to cover.
  • After that, decide how you’re going to use your remaining cash by splitting it up into categories. For example, you will need money to spend on shopping for non-essentials and most importantly money to spend on going out and entertainment.Once you’ve allocated money to these categories you pretty much have your very own student budget.

You will probably have difficulty sticking to your budget for the first month or so. Do not give up so quickly; your budget does not need to be completely fixed. If you realise it doesn’t suit your wants and needs, by all means change and adapt it. The difficulty comes in, when you realise you’re going to have to make some sacrifices and cut some things out in order to accommodate your budget. It sucks to miss out on a night out, but it doesn’t suck nearly as much as admitting defeat and having to call your parents to put more money in your account.

EduConnect 2cents

Learning to budget in university won’t only help you then, but it’ll help you throughout the rest of your life when you start working and have a family. Once you graduate and get a job, you won’t be able to just phone your parents for a quick-fix. They aren’t responsible for you any more. Do yourself a favour and learn to budget from the get go. Your first year on a budget can be tough, but it’ll pay off in the end.

Here is a sample student budget to help set you up. Adjust it to your own needs and wants.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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