Budgeting for first-time students

Leaving home to study for the first time is an exciting event filled with anticipation. This transitional period in one’s life is filled with new experiences, as well as a lot more freedom and financial responsibility. While moving into your first flat or house-share is a thrilling and fun journey, you have to factor in your finances.

And while this might sound not so fun, starting your first year with a financial plan will not only help you afford those all-important extra expenses like textbooks, but also make sure you make it to the end of the month without falling short. Whether your monthly income comes from family, student loans, a scholarship fund, a student job or a combination of these, here are a few ways to get prepared in collaboration with Hippo.co.za.

Determine your expenses

Once you are aware of how much money per month you will be receiving, determining your expenses is the first step to take in figuring out your budget. Think about every bill, essential item and activity that might incur an expense, and write it down, with how much you expect to pay for each. Once these expenses have been added up, you can compare the total to your monthly income and see whether or not you can live within your means.

It is always best to do your research before committing to an expense. Is living in a university residence cheaper than sharing a flat with friends? If you are about to purchase a car, how are you going to pay it off?

Never look at an expense at face value, as there are often more financially sound options available. For example, if you are going to need financial help to pay off your car, there are numerous finance options available, but you need to be aware of what will suit your pocket best. Beware of ‘Rent-to-Own’ Car Financing Deals as, in the long-term, they may not be financially viable for a student’s budget.

Below is a list of essentials that should be on your expenses list:

  • Rent
  • Rates (electricity, water, sewerage)
  • Transport related costs (bus/train tickets, fuel, Car Insurance, servicing)
  • Toiletries
  • Food
  • Laptop / writing material
  • Textbooks
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Internet
  • Pages

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