How to create a budget plan for students

Budget plan for students ? There’s lots to think about when you go to university, and especially if you are in international student relocating to a new country, sorting out your budget is a top priority. Currently many countries are suffering from inflations and rising student loans which means having a solid budget has nevere been more important. Many students think budgeting is a daunting task which will take away all the fun when it comes to studying abroad, however, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your finances early on in life and whilst being a student it’s the perfect opportunity to gain valuable budgeting skills for life. With a budget you can work towards specific money goals and rest assured you will have enough money for each week/month to cover all your expenses. 

Essentially, budgeting is keeping tabs on your income and spending, so you know exactly what’s coming in and going out. To help you start budgeting for your overseas student adventure we’ve listed a few points to consider to help you get started.

Add up your income 

Begin with adding up your income. This could include your student loan, any grants, bursaries, sponsorships or scholarships you’re eligible for. It pays of to research this thoroughly to ensure you’re not missing out on any extra income which can be helpful to your finances.

Secondly, you might receive money from your parents, have an income from a part-time job during your studies, and you might even have savings.

Once you’ve listed your total income you have an idea of how much money you can afford to spend, which takes us to your outgoings…

Add up your essential outgoings

The next step in the budgeting process after you understand what you have available to spend each semester is to add up all your expenses. These would include your tuition fees, rent for your accommodation, utility bills such as TV licence, water, gas, electric etc, transportation costs, phone bill and food. 

Tuition is usually the major expense for most uni students. As you consider which university to attend, make sure to factor in tuition expenses. The range for student tuition can vary dramatically among institutions. Some universities don’t have any tuition fees at all (Scandinavian universities are known for this) whilst other universities charge steep fees.

Secondly, student accommodation is an expense which most students need to cover. So after tuition and fees, accommodation costs is usually the second most expensive part of most student’s budgets. When it comes to accommodation there are many options to chose from which vary in price depending on your budget. From off-campus housing, shared apartments and private studios to student housing and on-campus accommodation. Whichever accommodation type you chose, make sure you’re aware of the total costs ahead of time. For example, if you are renting a private room or apartment you might have additional utility bills to pay, whereas on-campus accommodation usually include all bills and sometimes even full-board (all meals) that is common in Spain. At we offer a wide range of student accommodation to suit your budget. 

The third most expensive outgoing tend to be food and with the rising food prices all over the world, it’s never been more important to budget your groceries. Start off with considering what you’re willing to spend on food each month as you map out your budget. Also, once you’ve set your budget ensure you compare prices at different supermarket and grocery stores since they can vary quite a bit. 

The fourth expense on the list is usually transportation. Most students need to commute to class and depending on where you live this is usally by using public transportation. However, if you wan’t to save costs on transportation and you don’t live too far from campus, a bike will work very well and it’s a healthy alternative to taking the bus or train. 

How to properly track your spending

After you have a good idea of your income and your expenses it’s time to start tracking your spending. As you start this process, it’s okay to adjust your budget to more accurately reflect your spending needs. This allows you to work out the average student budget per week. Once you start to track your spending you might realise you spend more/less on food and transportation for example. This information allows you to update and adjust your budget spreadsheet. 

In addition to spreadsheets, there are several digital tools that can help you track your spendings including budgeting apps. They are easy to use, make it fun and easy to keep track on your spendings (and savings). The apps are available for Android and iOS devices and some of the best ones are Mint (free), Goodbudget, You Need a Budget, QuickBooks Online and Expensify. 

Find out what you can get for free as a student

The perks of being a student are all the discounts you can get and in some cases, things you don’t have to pay for at all. It pays off to research student discounts and also the things you don’t have to pay. In the UK for example, student houses do not need to pay Council Tax, as long as the only people who live there are full-time university students.

In some countries, you can also get medical prescriptions for free.

Then there’s of course all the highstreet discounts. Many shops offers 10% student discount on their clothing and shoes which can be used both in the shops and also online. 

Many restaurants are also offering student discounts including food deliveries. And if you are looking to catch up with your mates in the local bar regularly it’s worthwhile to pick a pub/bar offering student discounts on drinks and meals. 

When it comes to entertainment such as concerts, art galleries, museums and sports activities it’s worthwhile to check for any student discounts before paying the full price. 

Most countries are also offering student discount on public transport and travel. Railcards, bus tickets and sometimes even flights are included in student discount programs. Always check before buying your ticket. 


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