Even though money should not affect our study-related choices, it seems to be a key factor while making our decisions. However, being fully aware of your student expenses is crucial. Knowing what to expect allows you to adjust your financial situation and prepares you for the next months or years. Also, it leads you to appreciate more your opportunities and forces you to assume responsibility for your decisions. However, being a freshmen student, it might be difficult to imagine what your education might cost. That’s why we’ve prepared a short list of tops student expenses, where you can check step by step how much each item might cost you and, that way, keep you informed and prepared.
One of the biggest concerns of most students is by no means tuition. Although there are countries where the first degree or even masters is free (such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia), in the majority of countries the tuition is pretty expensive. On the other hand, there are usually programs or scholarships which can make your education cheaper, or even possible at all, in many cases. If that’s not an option, you can also ask for a student lawn which you usually start to pay only after finishing the school. As tuition fees vary a lot depending on country, city, university or programme, I strongly suggest checking that out as soon as possible.
The second most expensive item on the list is usually accommodation. First of all, it is convenient to check the options: shared flats, student dormitories or renting a house tend to be the most frequent ones. Ideally, you should check what is included (WiFi, energies, other fees) and how much each item usually costs. Also, check out how much you will have to spend on public transportation, depending on where you live.
As the previous two items tend to be paid periodically, it is easier to recognize how much you spend on them. That’s not the case of food, groceries, and other products used on daily basis, though. Keeping an eye on how much you spend on each item per month can be pretty useful, especially if you’re saving money.
By public transportation, we usually understand daily transport from house to school/work/free time activities, which can be pretty expensive. In order to save some money, buying a bicycle might be a good decision, but there are many other affordable options, such as bike, scooter or car sharing and rental, especially in case of larger cities. On the other hand, if you live far from home, you will probably have to take a bus, train or plane in order to get home for holidays, which can be pretty expensive, too.
Books and study materials
In this category should be included mainly textbooks or photocopies, but for some degrees also paid PC programmes or tools, online apps or any other materials you might need.
Depending on your particular situation, you might also check how much you will need to spend on health care, telephone, bank account, internet, insurance or some possible administrative fees. This paragraph is especially important for those who are planning to study abroad. In that case, I would definitely recommend asking some older students who already have that experience and can give you some basic information on how much each item might cost and how often you need to pay it.
Leisure and other costs
Last but not least, it is important to keep in mind that although the education should be your priority, you should also dedicate a part of your time to free-time activities. Finding a good balance between academic tasks and leisure is crucial, but it might cost you money. Here you should think about team memberships, travelling, but also just going out with your friends to have some drinks. Although it might seem like an irresponsible cost, living your life outside the classroom helps you to relax, socialize and keep your mind clear and well prepared for studying, so even if you’re trying to save money, try to keep at least some of it for leisure.
Final advice: how to keep track of your study expenses
As you can see, there are no numbers, no prices and no exact costs in this article. The reason why is that it not only depends on each country or city but also on each person individually, depending on their needs and preferences. The best way of keeping track of how much you spend every month is to create a document where you can make a note of each of your costs. You should write down every single cost you have during a month for several months in a row. This way, you will be able to see how much exactly you spend on every item, which of them need to be prioritized and where you can save some money.
As you can see (and probably know already), being a student can be a pretty expensive task. Hopefully, this article will enable you to keep your costs under control and will make it easier for you to take responsible and healthy decisions. We would also love you to share with us how much you spend approximately every month where you live and how you keep track of your monthly costs. Any suggestions and ideas are more than welcome!
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