Budgeting for college life

Guide to budgeting as a UCC student

Starting college is a very exciting time in your life – leaving home, meeting new people, experiencing new things and furthering your education.

Your student experience can be as exciting and adventurous as you want it to be. It means more freedom and more responsibility in terms of your studies, and also in terms of managing your money.

College life can be expensive if you allow it to be, but with good sensible budgeting practices, you can help keep your expenses to a minimum.

What does it cost to be a student in UCC?

College life can be expensive if you allow it to be, but with good sensible budgeting practices, you can help keep your expenses to a minimum.

So what is a budget?

A budget is a simple exercise when you sit down and work out what income you will have over a period of time, such as the academic year, and what costs you will incur in this time. Ideally, you want your income to be greater than costs.

What should I factor into my budgeting?

There are 12 weeks in the first College term before Christmas, and another 12 weeks in term 2. However, it’s important that you also budget for the study month April and exam month May! Your money has to last all year, so plan how best to use it. The best thing to do is to create an Income & Expenditure spread sheet, or “what’s coming in” versus “what’s going out.”

It is also important to work out “essential” v “luxury” items – food is essential, beer is not! While you might feel that having a hectic social life is important, it is definitely not essential! Maintaining a spending diary is a simple and effective way of keep on top of your spending – you will be shocked at what you “waste” your money on.

What’s coming in and out of your pocket?

It is important to know what sources of funding are available to you as a UCC student, as these can provide extra funds to help you in your college career.

Part time jobs are great for your pocket, your CV, give great life experiences and life skills, but it is important to maintain a healthy study/work/ play 4 relationship, and your work should complement your studies, not the other way round!

What’s going out of your pocket? College life costs money and it is important to manage your funds in order to make it stretch and cover the whole academic year. From Accommodation to Fees, Food to Travel Expenses, these expenses will need to be covered so you can attend college. Planning and knowing what your expenses will entail is very helpful to allow you spend wisely and avoid unnecessary stress or worse, DEBT! Make a budget and play around with it, learn, make mistakes, it all part of learning how to become an adult!

Quick tips to manage your money

Here are a few very quick tips to help you manage your money:

  • Shop around for best deals.
  • Use your college ID and Student Leap card to avail of discounts.
  • If you’re house sharing – set up a shared “kitty” with your housemates and take turns cooking.
  • Keep a spending diary to monitor your spending for a week or two – you will be surprised at what you “waste” your money on.
  • Try and get as many course books as you can second hand and get used to using the library – you don’t need to buy all of the books on your book list.
  • Make use of the Mardyke Sports Arena – it’s free for all UCC students – healthy body = healthy mind.

If you feel like you are struggling to manage your finances, please make an appointment with the student budgetary advisor: www.ucc.ie/en/studentbudget/ [INCLUDE LINK TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT]

Student Financial Supports and Advice

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