How to Manage Your Student Budget

by Annie

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So, it’s time to manage your own money. Panicking?

No need.

Before starting first year, I designed a spreadsheet to track my spending, and I’ve included my spreadsheet template here, ready for your download and usage.

  • Know what to expect in your bank account at the end of the year – planning jobs and rent for second year will be much easier if you know how much you actually spend.
  • Note that being financially responsible does not mean keeping every receipt in a drawer at your desk that you plan on “dealing with later.”

How to use the spreadsheet:

1) “BUDGET 2016-17” is a list of how much you INTEND to spend within each category.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.34.58 AM

  • Visit the U of T website and ACORN to find out your meal plan budget this year.
  • Don’t forget about snacks and other groceries. Remember that you have Vic Dollars that you can use at Ned’s Café! For places to eat on campus/downtown check out this blog post.
  • The ‘Phone’ category will force you to keep a total bill charge in mind, preventing you from using extra data playing Pokémon Go.
  • Personal items can add up. The Shopper Drug Mart near Bloor and St. George has a 20% student discount on Thursdays if you show your T-card!
  • Learn about TTC prices here

2) Once you’ve entered in the amounts you wish to budget for each category, you can see the highlighted subtotal budget box. Enter any scholarship you received into the scholarship box. Your new total budget should appear.

3) The “REALITY” section is what you’ll be using throughout the year. At the end of each day, go through your receipts and enter the date and description of what you purchased, as well as the amounts you spent below the appropriate categories. The total will appear in column B. The total you spend under each category will appear above each category name. The total you’ve spent overall will appear in the highlighted B21 total box.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.38.41 AM.png

Basically, as long as the SECOND highlighted number is of a LOWER value than the first, you’re good. If it’s getting close, you have to start being more careful of how you’re spending your money and where you’re spending a little too much.Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.37.45 AM

4) To be extra careful, review your credit/bank card statement(s) at the end of each month and make sure that it matches up to your spreadsheet.

5) At the end of the year, compare your numbers. Where did you spend less/more than you thought you would? How can you adjust for next year? What type of job will you need and how many hours will you need to work to support your lifestyle? (And did you really need to spend that much at Starbucks???)


Good luck, Vic Ones!


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