Managing a student budget: surviving and thriving

I talked with the author of eishstudentbudget about the financial struggles of university students — and some tips for the newbies to thrive.


Imagine you are a high school student thrilled to start a new phase of your life — moving out, meeting new people and tasting life as an adult. You went through the tedious process of applications and essays. Finally, your hard work during the school paid off and you got accepted in your dream college. Now, what’s next?

Most of the teenagers struggle to imagine or plan the future at this stage. When the excitement wore off and the worries start to crawl the spine, we reflect on the responsibilities that lie ahead. Checking the accommodation, commute, bills, insurance, tuition fee and the list goes on. A priority at this point must be to learn to budget your finances and keeping track of your money. A student must have some idea of how much he/she is going to spend and manage a living. Sorting out your budget thoroughly will help to have a better time focusing on the studies and evade the situation of owning a lot of money to the banks or estate agents.

In a recent talk, we briefly looked at these struggles and asked for some advice to plan better. We had an insight into the author’s life — inspiration to start this guide, future goals and much more.

Tell us about yourself?

Hi, everyone! I blog anonymously, therefore I go by the pseudonym, “Eish.”

I grew up in Johannesburg, Gauteng. My childhood was pretty normal; I was quite introverted and loved reading and learning. With that being said, I enjoyed going out with friends to the movies, mall, etc.

I am currently a university student at one of the higher education institutions in Johannesburg and I am studying towards my Accounting degree. If I was not doing an Accounting degree, I would probably be doing something in Finance or Economics. Commerce is interesting — I enjoy learning about money and how certain events have an impact on our personal finances.

Students in our course are fortunate in that our lecturers have “skin in the game.” They have worked in banking and finance (and other industries) and share their expertise with us.

How did you come up with the idea for this blog?

It was some time in 2015 that I began looking into minimalism. The premise of minimalism is to keep things simple. I was reading an article on a minimalist blog that spoke about how minimalism helps one save money. Reading that moved me and I thought, “Why not? I can share this information with others, particularly students.” I started the blog on WordPress in 2015 but did not publish much work there. It was mid-to-late 2018 that I started taking eishstudentbudget seriously. I deleted the WordPress blog and decided to set-up a new one on Blogger.

Where do you see your startup in 5 years?

I see eishstudentbudget being a successful blog and business. It does not generate revenue now, but I have plans to make it profitable in the future. I am still in the process of looking at ways to expand eishstudentbudget, but I am focusing on creating content and providing value. I definitely have considered an alliance or partnership. I am focusing on providing value and proving that I can create content and value first before I reach out.

What challenges do students normally face when handling their finances?

For the most part, I believe it is being responsible with money. Many students were not tasked with the responsibility of making purchasing decisions in their households; it was mostly their parents’ or guardian’s role. If the student received a regular allowance in high school, they did not know how to save and/or invest it. That is the first issue: that when one has not handled quite a bit of money, they do not know how to use it.

Secondly, when we do not know or fully understand how to save and/or invest money. This is a huge problem. If one does not know how to manage their finances as a student, how do we expect them to properly manage their finances when they enter the world of work? I know many working, middle-to-upper middle-class adults who do not manage their finances properly.

What are the struggles you face in your work and how you overcome these?

It would have to be keeping a realistic, yet positive, mindset as a student. I attended a vacation work program not too long ago and I remember one of the accountants saying, “It is all about mindset. Yes, it is a lot of work and it can be frustrating, but do the work and you will be fine.”

How would you define yourself in three words?

Kind; and

What is your dream place to visit?

Oh, wow. There are many places I would like to visit. I can not choose one. I would definitely like to visit a place where one, particularly a woman, can walk around safely at night.

What is your advice for the students who are planning to move out?

Pick a good roommate. I have been fortunate in the sense that I have never had a bad experience with a roommate, but I know people who were not so lucky. Choose someone who shares the same values as you.

(For more tips and advice check out the posts on eishstudentbudget blog. You can reach the author through these platforms- Instagram and email.)