A tough lesson for all undergraduate students is to learn the art of budgeting – it doesn’t naturally appear when you enrol at University. Student budgeting really is an art form, and you do hear rare stories of students coming out of university not only with a degree but without an overdraft or any other debt except their student loan. We applaud those students as it is an accomplishment! If you want to leave without any bank fees and your student bank account intact, read our tips on how to budget below.
Before you go to university – or at any time during – you can create a budget planner. A budget planner will be a useful tool to show you how much of your money is going out and how much you have coming in. Basically meaning how much money you have left to spend on what you want once you pay your bills and buy the necessities, like toiletries and food. When creating this budgeting tool be honest with how much you spend on each area. It is always best to over calculate than under calculating because finding you have more money left over than expected is great, but learning you’re more skint than planned is a terrible feeling.
First, get your bills and direct debits paid for, make sure you know how to do this without financially crippling yourself and make sure that you understand your student bills. These include your rent, phone, the internet, television, and any other bills you have. Once that is done you need to allocate travel expenses – like buses, trains and taxis if you have to take them – and your food shopping. Always allocate enough o your food allowance because you have to eat! After you can adjust your budget to include your toiletries and any miscellaneous – like printer ink and library fees, etc. When you have input all of the important categories, you can see how much you have for yourself. You’ll need to account for all of these, whether you’re using student finance effectively or not.
If you are addicted to online shopping put blocks on websites or only allow yourself to window shop – cancel your account and never ‘save’ your card details. Having to input all of our information, create an account and all those verification emails might deter you! Don’t go out shopping with your friends if you have no money, sod’s law will guarantee there will be something that you want to buy!
If all of your friends only want to go out and spend money and can never live with a night in then, you need to find new friends, or just spend less time with them. We all don’t have the same financial situation, so you’ll find it hard to keep up with their lifestyle if they can afford to eat out for every meal and go on spending sprees.
If you have splashed out on something or an unexpected bill has come up you should input this in your budget planner. You don’t want to realise later on that you have less money that you thought or another bill can’t come out now!
Budgeting as a student is the most wanted skill, and one of the best ways to keep on top of your finances is to check your balance every day and to stick to your daily budget, your university expenses may be covered by a grant, bursary or scholarship and there may even be a few grants, bursaries and scholarships that you aren’t even aware of! Weekly or monthly budgets are hard to keep track of or to control. However, if you know what you can afford each day, it will be easier to manage.
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