A new academic year has started and along came more expenses. For some these are the first steps towards adulthood. Where to get money for everyday expenses, learning, and entertainment? Group KRUK tells you how to keep records on household finances. Usually a student budget is not impressive, even if the student works. However, some cannot afford to work on a full-time basis and take up only seasonal or casual employment. That is why the question: what to do to afford all, especially the necessary, expenses is asked. First of all, much depends on competent organisation and meticulous recording of money spent. A student budget should be very well organised. Students can rarely afford unplanned expenditure. Therefore, take care of your finances, starting with a thorough calculation of all revenue and expenditure. Create a household planner and write down everything in it. It can be an Excel sheet or an ordinary notebook or a ready calculator of your household budget. Check what you spend most money on and try to look for savings, e.g. check your telephone bills and find the cheapest operator. Students spend most of their money on accommodation, food, and learning materials (including photocopies). Some devote a major part of their budget to entertainment: cinema, concerts, night at a club or parties. Remember that a well-managed, even the most modest budget, enables making some savings. Be sure to keep in mind several important issues: 1. Make sure you have reasonable accommodation. If as a student your moved out from your parents, a major part of your budget will get consumed by renting a flat. You should prepare well for the move. If you do not live in a dorm, take some time to choose a nice and cheap flat. Firstly: remember that you do not always have to live in the city centre. The cost of renting a flat or a room in the suburbs is much lower. Secondly: look for a flat with your friends or rent only a room. When looking for accommodation, pay attention to additional costs, e.g. Internet and deposit. 2. Cook for yourself. Buying ready meals every day is very expensive. Try to prepare food on your own. When looking for savings, remember that many products can be frozen and used at a later time, e.g. you can use the ingredients to prepare a meal for several days. Look for inspiration for cheap and healthy meals on the Internet. Many bloggers share their ideas for quick and tasty meals, e.g.: www.student-gotuje.pl, www.kotlet.tv and www.kwestiasmaku.com. 3. Look for special offers and use discounts. Students are entitled to many discounts so why not use them? When in a museum, cinema or public transport, always ask whether you are entitled to a discount. Many pubs and cafés often apply discounts for students on specific days and hours. Look for current information - read websites or magazines for students, e.g.: www.aktivist.pl or www.pokapoka.co. 4. Look for a job. Try to find extra work. This can include popular activities often undertaken by students, such as giving private lessons or distribution of leaflets. However, it is good to look for other offers too. Many sports clubs, boutiques in shopping centres or restaurants are eager to employ students on a part-time basis. That is why read several websites with job offers, such as www.praca.pl, www.pracuj.pl, www.gowork.pl. 5. Swap, sell, buy second hand. Expenses for photocopies or books are a major position in your student budget, especially during the examination period. There are several ways to reduce these costs. Firstly: look for a cheap copy shop. Secondly: swap notes with other students. Thirdly: compare book offers on the Internet. Auction portals and e-bookshops often offer more attractive prices than stationary shops. It is worth using Internet auctions where you can find many special offers but also sell your books or items you do not use anymore. 6. Do not forget about bills. Try to pay your bills on time. Often even the slightest delay results in the accrual of interest, which can later transform into a substantial debt. 7. Remember about a financial reserve. Also, think about opening a savings account where you could pay a specific amount every month. Such a solution will not only protect you against excessive temptation but also generate interest. Remember that accumulations of savings means systematic putting aside of a specific amount. It is good to have a financial reserve. Keeping your household budget can be facilitated by setting a specific goal, e.g. collecting funds for holiday or a car. This way, we save money easier and more willingly. It is also worth to avoid unnecessary expenses and not to make hasty shopping decisions. The best solution is reasonable buying and comparing prices of specific goods in different shops.
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