As a student, everyone around seems to be swimming in money except you. The campus life becomes a circle of stretching how far the shilling can go.
Here is the thing though; you don’t have to live miserably in your quest for higher education.
Take charge of the little money you have and become smarter about the way you spend it by creating a budget.
Here is how to;
Track your spending
The first step about hacking your budget as a student is to track your spending, including all miscellaneous expenses.
This is the blueprint with which you will be able to know what is going where and pinpoint the wormholes that are swallowing your cash.
This is also an avenue for you to reflect on your day-to-day spending habits, an aspect of financial awareness that will influence your budget look.
Carry food, items from home
The cost of living has really gone up. This is more visible in urban centers where populations are surging and, coincidentally, where most universities are located.
Traders are making a killing on items. You can go around this by getting the same items cheaply in bulk from the village that will last you months.
Take time during the holiday break to scour through the village stalls, farms, and markets for dry cereals, clothes etc.
Replenish your food supply from the village once in a while by having the same delivered to you at your university.
If this is not tenable, consider buying these from city markets that offer incentives such as freebies and sales in bulk.
Understand that as a student, every coin is to make your existence in a learning institution much simpler. Don’t overstretch this by living off price tags.
Make mitumba the new Dior, Gikomba the new Amazon and chai strungi the new Starbucks.
Do not be swayed by mannequins into impulse buying. Have a list when shopping. Switch your shopping locations to where you can hassle the seller to your budget range.
Most sellers are willing to drop prices and you would be surprised how the same quality products cost outside malls.
You do not need a Sh3, 000 ‘mall shoe’ while there is a Sh950 equivalent in Muthurwa or Gikomba.
Simplify your life
This cannot be emphasized enough. There is a growing sponsor culture in universities, a need to live a fast life and a desire to fit in.
Manage your expectations as a student. The best way to do this is by budgeting and living within your means.
Take advantage of the facilities at the university such as the cafeteria where food is subsidized to astonishing rates.
Appreciate hostel or housing arrangements that universities offer. They help in cutting down your cost of living considerably.
Use the free Wi-Fi to research on your material (free eBooks etc), chat your hundreds of friends and connect with the world.
The remainder, have a budgetary allotment.
Unlike Secondary schools, institutions of higher learning offer freedoms on steroid levels. This choice, however, comes with responsibility.
Despite the temptation to party and rave all weekends, a move that will definitely dent your pocket, choose to stay in. ‘Raha jipe mwenyewe,’ is the motto.
Choose better, cost-effective ways to have fun in a manner that you can best control the food, drinks, and partygoers.
The best strategy is to invite friends to where you stay or decide beforehand that you will share the bills equally.
Make it a habit to budget your entertainment costs. If you must go out to a party, stick to it.
There is a lot of camaraderies that students of each institution share. Own it.
Live as close to your campus as possible, this will save you commute costs and free up money for other essential needs.
While at it, why not share that room and split the rent with your friend in the middle? Why not bill yourself on facilities that offer a reduced rate for students?
Why not create a menu plan that will cut down on your grocery bill? Eating outside is expensive; prepare your own meals.
Choose something to save for
The purpose of creating a budget is to streamline spending but as a student, you may be wondering why you would be tightening your belt for.
Here is the thing; we are all in search of something in life.
Why not save for that iPhone you have always wanted, that Timbaland boot you have always dreamt to rock or that trip you have always wanted to take?
Set a goal as it will give you a sense of purpose and drive when budgeting. It will guide you on how to maneuver your spending minefield.
Once you achieve it, set an even higher one. There is nothing so fulfilling as achieving what you worked hard for.
Buy in stock
This is essential, it’s best for your pocket to buy in bulk.
Those items you buy one by one will cost more in the end than if you would have bought them all at ago.
Resist the feeling to overlook that drop in prices that the sellers are offering. Better yet, buy goods whose sale by dates are months away.
Don’t purchase stuff you will throw away in a few days, save yourself the misery and prolong your deep pockets by having a stock of items with a longer shelve life.