Succeeding on a Shoestring Budget: Tips for Managing Finances as a Student Entrepreneur

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Updated: April 13, 2023
by Cristian Morales

Are you a student with an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you dream of starting your own business but feel limited by a tight budget? Starting a business is difficult for anyone, but more so for students who have limited resources and financial backing available to them.

With that said, there are more educational opportunities in terms of entrepreneurship courses or access to mentors who can guide how to start a business nowadays. So let's look at the steps required to create and follow a budget, cut costs, save money and make more income as a student entrepreneur.

Succeeding on a Shoestring Budget: Tips for Managing Finances as a Student Entrepreneur

Create a Budget and Follow the Budget

Forget about how much you have in your bank account for a second and instead, plan how much you'll need for your new business realistically. That'll be a good start.

Creating a budget helps to establish your financial priorities, as well as evaluate how much money you have coming in versus going out. Because you do need to identify areas where you might be overspending or unnecessary expenses that could be cut down.

Following a budget allows you to keep track of your spending habits and ensure that you are staying on track with your financial goals. It also provides peace of mind by helping to avoid the stress that comes with wondering whether or not there will be enough funds available when needed.

Having a solid budget plan can help prevent impulse purchases which can eat up valuable resources over time. Being mindful of every expense ensures that each penny is spent purposefully towards reaching specific milestones such as investing in equipment or paying off debt.

Do I Need a Credit Card?

It's always useful to have a couple of student credit cards as a young entrepreneur, to make purchases and manage your finances. Mainly for 3 reasons;

  1. Learn about your budget: By taking time to track credit card spending, you can get an up-close look at where your money is going and how much of it you are spending on different categories. You’ll also learn about sensible ways to use your credit - make sure that any mistakes don’t derail your efforts or put you into debt.
  2. Rewards and perks: Some credit cards offer rewards and perks, such as cashback or travel points. If you can use these rewards to your advantage, a credit card may be worth considering.
  3. Fraud protection: Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent charges than debit cards. If you are concerned about security, a credit card may be a good choice.

What Are Other Funding Resources?

Whatever you're setting up, it's going to be your business, your company. You don't really want to borrow money from your family members (let alone friends!) So considering you have your serious business plan to prove, there are several sources of funding that you can consider to obtain the capital you need to start your business. Here are some options:

Funding Resources

Grants and scholarships:

There are many grants and scholarships available to student entrepreneurs from various organizations and institutions. These may be based on your academic achievements, business plan, or other factors.

Angel investors:

Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who invest their own money in early-stage startups in exchange for equity. They may be interested in supporting student entrepreneurs who show potential.

Venture capitalists:

Venture capitalists are professional investors who typically invest in startups with high growth potential. While they may not typically invest in student entrepreneurs, some venture capital firms specialize in funding student startups.


Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe allow you to raise money from a large number of people, often in exchange for rewards or perks. This can be a good option for student entrepreneurs who need to raise a smaller amount of money.

How About Small Business Loans?

Not really. Using a small business loan can usually involve greater risks, compared to other forms of financing. Such as;

  • Debt: Taking on debt means that you will need to make regular payments to repay the loan, which can impact your cash flow and profitability. It's important to carefully consider whether you will be able to make these payments before taking out a loan.
  • Interest rates: Small business loans often come with higher interest rates than personal loans or other forms of financing. This can result in higher total costs over the life of the loan.
  • Collateral: Some small business loans require collateral, which means you will need to put up assets like property or equipment as security for the loan. If you are unable to repay the loan, you risk losing these assets.
  • Credit score: Taking out a small business loan can also impact your credit score if you are unable to make timely payments. This can make it more difficult to obtain financing in the future.

Many new entrepreneurs - regardless of their age - are tempted by the ease and convenience of taking out a loan from a private company, but this should really only be considered as an absolute last resort. 

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Cut Unnecessary Costs

You think you can deduct any business expense from your profit - but that's only when calculating your taxable income. If your new business is making a loss, any extra costs will simply make your balance sheet worse. So here are some strategies that you can take to reduce your business expenses:

Review your expenses:

Conduct a thorough review of your expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. Consider eliminating or reducing expenses that are not essential to your business operations.

Negotiate with suppliers:

Reach out to your suppliers and negotiate better prices or payment terms. Consolidate your orders to take advantage of bulk discounts.

Use technology:

Leverage technology to automate repetitive tasks and streamline your operations. Use online tools and software to reduce administrative and operational costs.

Rent instead of buying:

Consider renting equipment and office space instead of purchasing them outright. This can help you avoid large upfront costs and reduce maintenance and repair expenses.

Outsource non-core functions:

Consider outsourcing non-core functions like accounting, IT, and marketing to third-party service providers. This can help you save on overhead costs and benefit from specialized expertise.

Go green:

Adopt environmentally-friendly practices like using energy-efficient equipment, reducing paper usage, and minimizing waste. This can help you reduce utility costs and attract environmentally-conscious customers.


Consider bartering goods or services with other businesses instead of paying for them. This can help you save money while building relationships and expanding your network.

Cut down advertising income:

Take advantage of free online resources for marketing and networking instead of investing in expensive advertising campaigns.

How to Make Money as a Student Entrepreneur

Student Entrepreneur

If you haven't even decided what to do to run your own business, here are some popular ideas;

  1. Offer a service: Identify a skill or expertise that you have and offer it as a service to clients. This could include things like web design, social media management, writing and editing, tutoring, or consulting.
  2. Sell a product: Create a product that solves a problem or meets a need in the market. This could include physical products like clothing, accessories, or gadgets, or digital products like ebooks, software, or courses.
  3. Affiliate marketing: Promote other people's products or services through affiliate marketing programs. You earn a commission for each sale that is made through your unique affiliate link.
  4. Advertise on your website or social media channels: If you have a website or a significant social media following, you can monetize your platform by selling advertising space to businesses that want to reach your audience.
  5. Offer a consulting service: If you have expertise in a particular area, you can offer consulting services to businesses or individuals who need guidance or advice.

Know Your Strengths

The options above are, of course, not for everyone. For example, if you are not good at teaching, it may not be the best idea to become a consultant. The job involves providing expert advice and guidance to clients to help them solve specific problems.

But you may have other skills that are expected from a consultant; strong analytical and problem-solving skills, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to manage client relationships, and a deep understanding of the industry or market in which you are consulting, etc.

Think about what type of skills and talents you possess, and you can choose the best option when deciding which venture is right for you. The potential opportunities based on these factors can make all the difference between success and failure. 

Your New Business May Be A Bumpy Ride

Starting a new business is challenging, no doubt. Lack of experience, market competition to learn, legal and regulatory hurdles such as registering the business, obtaining licenses, and complying with tax laws.

But the challenges are mostly to do with money, such as;

  • Limited resources: Starting a business can be expensive, and many new entrepreneurs have limited resources to work with. This can make it challenging to invest in the necessary equipment, supplies, and personnel needed to get the business up and running.
  • Cash flow issues: It can take time for a new business to generate revenue, and in the meantime, there may be expenses to pay, such as rent, utilities, and salaries. Managing cash flow can be a major challenge for new businesses.

Despite these challenges, many successful businesses have started from humble beginnings and grown into thriving enterprises. So don't let limited funds hold you back from pursuing your dreams - instead use these tips to stretch those dollars further and build towards an even brighter future!

Share Your Experience with Budget Planning and Finance Tips

Sharing your experience of budget planning and financing tips through a blog can be a great way to help others and establish yourself as an expert in your field. By sharing your knowledge and insights, you can provide value to your readers and build a following of people who are interested in your expertise.

Your blog site could include topics like budgeting strategies, financing tips for student entrepreneurs, and personal finance advice. Build a strong online presence and engage with your readers, you can grow your following and establish yourself as a trusted source of information and advice.

Starting a blog can take time and effort, but it can also be a rewarding way to share your knowledge and experiences with others. Share your expertise and connect with like-minded student entrepreneurs, a blog can be a powerful tool to build your business and help others at the same time.

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About the author 

Cristian Morales

Freelance writer and graphic designer with a can-do attitude. I became independent after spending 6 years in the hospitality industry and 5 years in banking & finance. I'm an all-rounder guy, open to working with like-minded people.

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