Hi, everyone! Hope that the post-holiday blues haven’t affected you so much this year. I think I can speak for everyone when I say it’s a difficult process to go back to the same financial state that you were in before the holidays – having had holiday celebrations with the family and having been extra generous with your gift budget, it’s quite a shock to come back to university and have to live off noodles and rice for the following month. Luckily, I’ve got a few useful tips for you which will help you manage your finances and get back on track.
- Set a budget and keep records of what you’re spending – you need to be realistic with what you can afford and what not.Don’t make any big spending plans unless you really need to and do try to stay within your budget.
Do keep receipts as these will make it easier for you to understand your shopping habits and allow you to make alterations to these so that you can stay within the budget.
Try to also budget in your savings: make sure you get a good savings account in which you can put money every month and try to stay out of it!
- Plan what you are going to buy and don’t buy any extras – again with the lists! You probably know that I love a good list.I always make a shopping list, no matter what I go shopping for and I would encourage you to do the same. Not only will this remind you of what you need to buy and will keep you from buying a lot of unhealthy food, but it will also give you a chance to approximate the amount you’ll be paying so that you can stick to your budget. Also, if you go food shopping, make sure that you have eaten before so that you don’t end up buying a lot of junk food that you will regret later.
- Share costs between flatmates – if you live in a shared house, it’s easier just to spread the costs of everything between all of you. It can also be really fun as well.One simple thing to do is to organise house meals where you all chip in for the needed ingredients and everyone helps with something, be it cooking, setting the table or washing up.
Also, it can save you all a lot if you go shopping for household essentials together as cleaning products can be quite pricey.
If you’re a girls-only flat you can also buy stuff like shampoo, conditioners, styling products and shower gels together – you can find big branded bottles in TK Maxx for less than their normal retail price and those will last you for ages!
- Pay with cash only – most people tend to lose track of their spending with all the new technology that is available at the moment (contactless cards, Apple pay etc.)Make sure that you stick to the old fashioned way of paying with cash everywhere. Set a limit according to your budget, take the money out and when that money is gone, it’s really gone.
This will help you stay within your budget and knowing how much money you’ve got left will make you think twice before you go and splurge on something that you don’t need.
- Get an NUS card to help you save with student discounts – sales aren’t the only way to get great deals, an NUS card gives you discounts of up to 10% in hundreds of shops as well as online shops all year round.You can also find very good deals of up to 50% off of beauty, entertainment, technology, health etc. on their website. The card costs £12 but this is only a small price to pay for saving up to £1,200 per year.
Hope you find these tips helpful and I wish you all the luck to getting back on track with your finances without any struggle! 🙂