If you're starting in TU Dublin next week, this might be your first time living away from home and managing your expenses. We won't pretend that this will be easy, but making a budget and sticking to it can make a massive difference to your finances.
Set a budget: Make a list of all your income to include your student grant, a part-time job, an allowance from your parents. Then make a list of all possible outgoings such as your rent, travel expenses, mobile and internet charges, utilities. You can use an online budgeting tool, an excel sheet or go back to basics with pen and paper! Once you’ve listed all your income and necessary expenditures, it is easier to budget for extras like a night out or a takeaway.
Get cooking: One of the simplest ways to save money is to make your meals. An excellent way to keep the cost of eating down is to plan your meals for a week by making a shopping list and stick to it. Try to vary what you’re eating so you won’t get bored and end up reaching for the takeaway app!
Don't forget about student discounts: Make sure you avail of student discounts wherever possible. For example, a Student Leap Card may allow you to save up to 20% on Luas fares or 30 – 40% Irish Rail. And don't forget, the Child Leap Card is valid until your turn 19, which can reduce the weekly cost of travel by a whopping 60%. If you are treating yourself to a meal out, keep an eye out for special offers as lots of restaurants do exclusive meal deals for students.
Join a Society or Club: TU Dublin has dozens to choose from, and it is a great way to explore your interests while saving money, as many societies will offer discounted group activities.
Tax Back: Check if you are entitled to tax back on fees. If you or your family are paying for more than one student in full-time education, you can claim tax relief on the student charge for the second or subsequent children. Also, if you are paying tuition fees, either for a post-graduate programme, a part-time programme or for repeating the year, you may be entitled to tax back.
Scholarships: Check out if there are scholarships, for which you may be eligible. Last year TU Dublin and the TU Dublin Foundation gave out over €500k in scholarships to students.
Compare the market: Always shop around for the best deal possible. If you’re in the market for a new pair of jeans or boots, compare prices online don’t just pick the first pair you see! Save money on your mobile by comparing costs on the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)’s website.
Track your spending: If you’re following our tips and still find that you are overspending, use the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s spending calculator to see how much you are spending each day. A few euro a day on a coffee and muffin will really add up!