How To Create And Stick To A Budget In University

Creating A Budget In University

With the fall semester having just begun, I thought I would share some of my favourite tips for creating and sticking with your budget while at university. As a university student, this is probably the first time you get to fully experience what it’s like to be an adult. Of course, a lot of it is a lot of fun but you also have a lot more responsibilities now. One of those responsibilities is being smart with your finances.

I realised that creating a budget was extremely helpful for me. Even though I had some money to spend on both necessary as well as a few luxury items, I never spent more than I could afford. When it comes to creating a budget, I would recommend looking at your monthly income and at your monthly fixed expenses. Put aside the amount you need for your fixed expenses because those aren’t going anyway. I would also recommend putting aside some to save for a rainy day. With the amount you have left you can now create a budget for variable expenses such as groceries, gas etc. For more details on how to create your budget feel free to check out this article.

Sticking To Your Budget

Now this is the hard part. But don’t worry I’ve got some tips to make sure you don’t overspend and end up having to sell your textbooks.

1. Student Discounts

One of the best parts about being a student is that lots of brands/companies/stores offer student discounts. You can get a discount for anything from Amazon to your Wi-Fi. All you have to do is ask. These discounts can really help you save a lot of money which will obviously help you to stick to your budget and not overspend on things.

A lot of universities also offer a lot of benefits to students which can help them decrease their spending. For example, we all know textbooks cost an arm and a leg but a lot of universities sell used books, rent textbooks or even allow you to borrow some textbooks for free from the library for a certain period of time. Universities often also offer things like gym services which are more affordable compared to going to a regular gym. So make sure to look through your universities site and see what they have to offer so that you can save as much as possible. This will really help with decreasing your spending and sticking to your budget.

2. Fun Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

One of the best parts of university is getting to know new people, making friends, having experiences and trying new things. However, this can sometimes get a little expensive and you may end up spending more than you can afford. But, this doesn’t need to always be the case. There are so many ways to have fun without going overbudget.

Extroverts may hate me for this but I’m just going to say it- stay in more. Instead of always going out, stay in once in a while. Order some pizza and drinks, put on some comfy clothes and a movie you all enjoy and spend the night at home. It’s way more affordable and you get to hang out with your friends. You can do other stuff too like have a game night.

If you really want to go out and do stuff try looking for affordable options. A lot of places offer classes like cooking classes and stuff for a more affordable price for university students. You can also hang out at affordable places or places that are free. You can go for a picnic, go to a flower farm or fruit picking, go to a poetry slam, go to the mall and so much more.

3. Meal Prep

One of the things I’ve seen most students spend a lot of money on is food. I mean it makes sense since food is life but good food doesn’t necessarily have to be very expensive. I know a lot of students prefer to eat out or get takeout because life can be very busy when you’re in university but eating out regularly can end up being extremely expensive.

I would recommend eating out occasionally and preparing as many meals at home as possible. If you’re busy with life you can try meal prepping. It’s a great way to save money, time and eat healthy homecooked meals on a regular basis. Meal prepping could be you keeping all the ingredients ready in advance. For example, you can chop up the vegetables in advance and keep everything ready so all you need to do is cook everything. Or you can choose to cook your meals in bulk for the week. I would recommend this option because it’s the easiest. All you have to do is heat up the food and eat it which can be very convenient after a long day at university. You can also take some of the food with you if you have classes all day because university food can be so expensive.


I hope everyone is having a good start to their fall semester and hopefully these tips will help you stay within your budget. These are just a few tips though and if you would like to learn more about how to stick to your budget you can do so by clicking here. 

Do you have a budget plan? Do you have a hard time sticking to your budget or are you good with it? What are some tips you use to stay within your budget? How do you stop yourself from overspending? Let me know in the comments below or simply stop by and say hi!

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54 responses to “How To Create And Stick To A Budget In University”

  1. Good tips, Pooja. I am decades past school. 😂

    1. It’s not changed that much- we’re still broke students haha 😂

      1. I hope you become un-broke soon!

        1. Lol I hope so too 😂

  2. Even with student discounts, I seldom used them. You can save 100% of your money if you don’t buy [item] in the first place! But if you do need said item, it definitely helps to use discounts/coupons! To this day I still use coupons even if it’s just MCDs or something.

    Also, Dollarama is your friend in University. You can save a lot of money just from shopping there. For students it works well – the sizes are typically smaller and you’re less likely to waste stuff. Buy what you need. Buy brand names if you can. Walmart sometimes has deals too, but not always.

    1. Yeah for sure don’t waste money on stuff you don’t need but it helps to have a discount on stuff you do. Coupons are a great way to save some money!

      That’s a really good point- Dollarama is super affordable for a lot of items and if I’m not wrong Walmart has a back to school sale where you can get stuff like notebooks etc for a good price.

      1. Walmart *had* a back to school sale. Their back to school sale ended on Sept 12, sadly. I only know this because I was buying a lot of markers during their sale and I shop at Walmart a lot.

        These days, I shop at Dollarama less often than I used to but I love this store. It has a special place in my heart ♥️

        1. Oh I see! I didn’t buy anything this year so I wasn’t sure. Yeah I try to avoid Dollarama unless I need something because I always end up with things I don’t need lol.

  3. Needed….🤍
    Great tips

    1. Thanks and hope they help!

  4. Stick to video games and outings for entertainment . 😉

    1. Yup absolutely!

  5. I’m true to my passion, budget be damn!

    1. Lucky you- that’s a great way to live!

  6. That eating out point was speaking to me directly. I couldn’t agree more, that’s where most of the money goes.
    My friends and I have had game nights like 5 times, I don’t think they would all agree to more.
    This was timely 👌

    1. Yup it’s so easy to waste money on eating out or getting takeout. It’s a very unnecessary expense.
      Thank you!

  7. Those are some great tips for everyone, not just students. Eating out is a huge expenditure.

    1. Thanks and yeah for sure eating out can really ruin your budget!

  8. Nice tips to manage a budget.

    1. Thank you so much.

  9. Great tips! As a single person who works full time, meal prep can be a chore! I choose foods which can be cooked easily and recipes which won’t have me eating the same thing for a week!

    I have discovered that boxed broth (soup stock) is a great replacement for fat while reheating a meal in a skillet (not a fan of microwaved food)! It’s also great for cooking a little bit of pasta or ravioli or even a sliced potato in a skillet, no need to drain water! Add some protein and veggies to the cook time and there’s a meal! If I make a larger quantity, I’ll have lunch ready for the next day too!

    I buy bags of frozen veggies which allows me to have part of my meal prep done, bit also allows for cooking smaller portions! Likewise for buying meat in patties (or making my own) and freezing them. Ravioli bought fresh freezes well and the whole container doesn’t need to be cooked at once!

    1. Thanks! I think making foods that are easier to make is a great way to eat at home but not spend too much time cooking.

      Yeah I use broth sometimes too and it’s a really great substitute for sure. I always add some to my rice when I cook it to give it some flavour. Frozen or pre-cut veggies are a great time saver too! I don’t eat microwaved foods either so I totally get that 😂

      1. 😊 cooking for one can be challenging for sure, so making it easier and convenient isa huuuge help! I have a very small kitchen with little prep area so using frozen foods isn’t just a money saver it’s a time and space saver! Not cooking in water which gets thrown away is also a time and dirty dish saver! Who wants to wash a big sink of dirty dishes after cooking?! 😬😬

        1. Yup the less things to clean the better!

  10. You know when you post your personal experiences I connect so much with your posts.🥺💖💖💖

  11. Great tips! I’ll be sharing this with my college kid

    1. Thanks so much and I hope they help!

  12. Yes yes yes! These are the perfect tips to share. I LOVED all of my student discounts. People def need to take advantage before they snatch it away. Also, I think the fun where money isn’t spent is always better anyway 😉

    1. Thank you! Yup they take those away so quick once you graduate lol 😂 For sure, I would always rather grab a pizza and chill at home with friends than go out every night 😊

  13. quite a useful group of tips; best of luck this semester!

    1. Thanks so much but I don’t have a semester this fall because I’m graduating- ahhhh!

        1. I know I’m so excited and also scared lol!

          1. it is a time of mixed emotions…

  14. I’m looking for stuff like these on quora before college begins. You have no idea how helpful these posts are! Thanks tonnes! 💕

    1. I’m so glad they’re helping!!

  15. Great tips and your meals are amazing?

  16. Well thank you so much Pooja! This will definitely help me in my upcoming University years.❣️

    1. Happy to share it!

  17. […] How To Create And Stick To A Budget In University […]

  18. You have no idea how much I need this advice. Thanks a ton!!

    1. So glad you found it helpful!

  19. Reblogged this on .

  20. Fun definitely doesn’t have to be expensive! Playing monopoly is my go to!

    1. Ooh I love Monopoly!

      1. I had a NFL based Monopoly game but its lost now!

        I now have monopoly silver and I love that too!

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