Student Budget: How to manage your living expenses

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By Lei Chen

Saving money while at university can be hard. There will always be something that could increase our living expenses, such as rent, textbooks, food and some social activities. How to manage a budget without affecting our living quality is vital to students. As a university student, I compiled some of my top tips for saving money and managing your budget better.


Keep an eye out for scholarships

Every university offers opportunities for students to apply for scholarships, so don’t miss the chance to apply. With the support of a scholarship, we can save money and use that money to improve our standard of life.

Try to find more part-time jobs

We can take advantage of holiday time to take part-time jobs. This is not only a good way to make money but also an opportunity to gain experience and improve our social skills.

Track your spending

The key to budgeting is to be clear about what you need to spend. We need to know exactly where all the money is going. There are many ways that we can track our spending. A cash-free lifestyle has become popular in China. Every expenditure is recorded by mobile payment platform Alipay, and you can check your consumption records at any time. Alipay will also compare your finances this month with the previous month and provide you with reasonable budget proposals. If you don’t have Alipay, the best way to track your spending is to remember to collect your shopping receipts and summarise receipts at the end of each day or week.

Make a list of your income and expenses


Recording your income and expenditure is essential to control your budget reasonably. We need to summarise our income and spending at the end of each week or month. Try to classify the products you bought every week or month, and then calculate the cost of each kind of product and then compare each type of consumption expenditure. Finally, compare the cost with income to make (both) ends meet.

Set goals to manage your money

Set and accomplish small goals on a regular basis to keep you motivated. Students need to set their budget goals, which could help us manage our money better. List your budget at the beginning of each month and live according to it, and try to reduce unnecessary expenses. Try to revisit the budget to see whether you have achieved these goals at the end of each month, and adjust your budget. 

Choose reasonably priced food recipes

Food and drink is an important expenditure in a student’s daily life, and choosing reasonably priced food recipes is essential to control your budget. The food in the university’s dining room is cheaper than eating out, and this would be a good place for us to solve our dietary problems. For those who live in an apartment or who have access to a kitchen, cooking is a great option for saving money.