Whether you are juggling money from your maintenance loan or your weekend job, being at the University will bring you to the point of life when you have to start budgeting. If you don’t want to rely on your overdraft or money from your parents budgeting really is the best way how to practice your financial skills. Here is my quick guide to managing your University spending:
Know how much you spend
Keep ALL your receipts for at least a week. Label a few piles of your basic expenditures such as food, eating out (this one is very important), living and social life. You can add more categories depending on your lifestyle e.g. cosmetics, clothes, sports or travels.
Work out your expenses – I personally worked out my monthly spending and then divided them into four weeks.
Here’s a simple table explaining what you can include in these categories but feel free to personalise your own depending on your lifestyle:
|· Weekly shopping
· Small shopping in local shops
|· Coffees and snacks in the canteen
· Meal deals
· Lunch with friends
|· Rent (incl. water and electricity bills if applicable)
· Gym membership
· Spotify, Netflix
· Phone bill
|· Drinks on socials
· Coffee and cake with a friend
· Cinema ticket
|· Shower gel
· Make-up remover
|· Winter jacket
· Fluffy socks
|· Bus ticket
· Train ticket to Birmingham
· Flight tickets for Christmas
Know how much you earn
Write down all your earnings – whether it is from a part-time job or your maintenance loan, break it down into a month.
|Maintenance Loan||£600||Food||– £80|
|Part-time job||£200||Eating Out||– £40|
|Social Life||– £60|
|+ £800||– £720|
Now you will be able to break down how much money on each category you need for a week. If you are spending more than you’re earning or would like to save more money, you’ll have to start re-evaluating how much you spend on different things.
If you want to save more on food and eating out, simply write down a meal plan and then go shopping with your grocery list. This will help you spending less on unexpected snacks and hot drinks. Also, bringing a reusable cup is a great way how to save more money and the environment.
Also, check out all the student deals and discounts including the post about cheap eats in Worcester.
There are many printable budget planners online or in stationery shops so have a look on which one suits you the best and keep track of your budget. If writing it down is not for you, check out the apps and even bank accounts which are nowadays pretty much able to track and categorise all of your expenses in few minutes since your purchase.
Give yourself allowance
The best way how to stick to your budget is to give yourself weekly allowance. You will be able to keep track of your spending more easily and prioritise your expenses. If you end up saving a little bit, put it on a side as an emergency fund in case you run out of money the next week.
In case you empty some change from your jeans pockets or you saved some money from the previous week/month, set yourself up a little savings jar. You can also set yourself a target of how much you want to save up and use it as a part of your budget plan or use it towards something bigger such as holiday trips.
A savings jar can also be a really useful way of having some change available for things like parking or snacks if you get a little desperate!
There we have it, my tips for saving at University. It’s good to remember that the University has Student Finance department and Firstpoint can give advice on financial matters if you need some extra help along the way 🙂