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Budgeting 101: How to Budget as a Queen’s Student

University students often have less income than outgoing expenses, so budgeting is a unique task. Here are a couple of recommendations to make a budget for the school year brought to you by yours truly, the Financial Literacy Peer Health Educator topic team.

1) establish your income

Know your starting point in order to build your budget around. Whether this is savings, money from the summer or current income it is important to know to build your budget around.

2) estimate your living costs

Students often spend on the following items: rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, groceries, transportation (via rail, gas money etc.), entertainment (cover for stages, dinners, movies, events), and school (tuition, textbooks, supplies). With these costs in mind, it’s important to estimate YOUR personal living costs and try not to compare to others!

3) calculate your budget

  1. Work out your total income for the year at university

  2. Calculate the total weekly essential expenses (things like food, rent, utilities, etc.). To do this you may wish to track your expenses for a week or estimate this budget.

  3. Sum up your weekly essential expenses for the year and subtract this from your total year’s income.

  4. Divide that number by the number of weeks in the year. This is how much you can spend on non-essential items.


Make it a SMART goal:

  • Specific: I want to spend only X amount on Uber eats this month

  • Measurable: I will track how much I spend using Excel

  • Attainable: I will substitute Uber Eats with fresh meal kits

  • Relevant: This goal is important to me because I want to save money for travelling

  • Time bound: By October 31st I will have spent no more than $75 on Uber eats

5) use a budgeting app:

Technology has made budgeting much easier in our current time and age. Our personal recommendations are YNAB (You Need a Budget), Every Dollar, and Mint.

6) apply for student grants and scholarships

Queen’s University as well as the AMS provide tons of grants and bursary options. Visit the to learn more!


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