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7 Things You Should Prioritize When Budgeting As a Student

Here's how to spend and save wisely while in school.
November 18, 2022
7 mins read

It is not easy to be a student. You must balance your time between your education, your social life, and possibly part-time work. In addition, you must consider your financial situation. It can be tough trying to stick to a budget, but it’s definitely doable with a little bit of planning and effort. 

You don’t have to sacrifice your social life or studies to save money. Whether you’re living at home or away from home, here are seven things you should always prioritize when budgeting as a student:

Tuition and Other School-Related Expenses

No matter what, your top priority should always be your tuition and other school-related expenses. This includes textbooks, class materials, and any other fees required for your courses. Even if it means cutting back on other expenses, make sure you can cover these costs first and foremost.

You can look for ways to save on tuition and other expenses by looking for scholarships, grants, and bursaries. You can also talk to your school’s financial aid office to see if you’re eligible for any need-based assistance. 

If you’re struggling to find the money for tuition, credit card utilization may be an option. By using your credit card wisely, you can earn rewards and points that can help you cover the cost of your tuition. Just make sure you can pay off your credit card balance in full and on time so that you don’t end up with any debt.

Housing and Utilities

Your second priority should be your housing and utilities. Whether you’re renting an apartment or living in a dorm, make sure you can cover your rent and other bills each month. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, there are a few things you can do to cut back on expenses.

See if your school has any off-campus housing options that are more affordable. You can also check if there are any roommate matching programs that can help you find someone to split the cost of rent and utilities with. Another option is to look for subletting opportunities if you plan to go home for the summer or take a semester off.

Food and Groceries

Your third priority should be food and groceries. Eating out all the time can get expensive, so it’s important to ensure you can afford healthy and affordable meals. There are a few ways to save on food costs as a student.

One option is to cook meals at home instead of eating out. You can also see if your school has any meal plan options that offer discounts on food costs. Alternatively, you can join a food co-op or community garden that gives you access to fresh and affordable produce.


Your fourth priority should be transportation. If you rely on public transportation to get around, make sure you can afford the cost of a bus or train pass. You can also look into carpooling options if you need to drive to school or work. If you have a bike, take advantage of it as much as possible to save on transportation costs.

If you don’t have a bike, you can also get a used one from a garage sale or thrift store. You can also see if your school has any programs that offer free or discounted bike rentals. If you live close to campus, you can also try walking or biking to save on transportation costs.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Your fifth priority should be miscellaneous expenses. This includes entertainment, personal care, and any other incidentals you might need to pay for each month. While it’s important to enjoy your time as a student, ensure that you’re not spending more money than you can afford.

One way to save on miscellaneous expenses is to take advantage of free or discounted events and activities. You can also look for ways to reduce spending, like eliminating unnecessary subscriptions or memberships. Another option is to barter or trade services with friends and classmates to get the necessary things without spending any money.

Personal Expenses

Your sixth priority should be your personal expenses. This includes clothes, shoes, and other items you need to keep yourself well-dressed and presentable. While you don’t need to spend a lot of money on clothes, make sure you can afford the basics.

One way to save on personal expenses is to shop at thrift stores or consignment shops. You can also look for ways to trade or swap clothes with friends and classmates. Another option is to wait for sales to get the things you need at a lower cost.


Your seventh and final priority should be savings. Having some money set aside for unexpected expenses or emergencies is important. But you can also use your savings to help cover tuition, housing, and other expenses if you need to.

One way to save money as a student is to open a savings account and make regular deposits. You can also look into getting a part-time job to help you boost your savings. Furthermore, you can start a budget and stick to it to ensure you’re not spending more money than you can afford.

Final Thoughts

Prioritizing your expenses as a student can help you make sure you can afford the things you need. Make sure to start with the essentials and work your way down to the less important items. By following this priority list, you can make sure that you can stay on top of your finances and avoid getting into debt.

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