With only two weeks to go till the Christmas holidays and the end of the first term of this year I’m sat here wondering, where has the time gone? Something else that also seems to have disappeared quickly is my student loan and the money that I earned over the summer months. Budgeting as a student is a key skill that you need to develop early on to avoid having to live of Asda’s smart price, 15p pot noodle three times a day for the last weeks of term. I’ve had to do it a lot this term, so here are my tips on budgeting.
1. Know how much you have
The first thing you should do at the start of term is log in to online banking (or go to a cash point) and take a look at the figure in front of you. Chances are it will be currently looking quite beefy with a large chunk of student finance having just been paid in. Do not go to High Cross thinking you can afford all the nice things you’ve wanted for the past year. Without wanting to panic you, this money is there to cover rent, food, bills, books and your social life from now till the next installment from SFE.
2. Do the maths
Now it’s time to do the maths, clear your desk, grab a drink and settle down to focus till this is done. You only have to do it once a term and after the first time it’s a lot easier, as you will already have a basis to work on.
Now write down a list of all your necessary expenditures, such as the ones I mentioned before like food, rent etc. Unfortunately, clubbing doesn’t quite come under a necessary expenditure, no matter how many friends you may have that are going out three nights a week, if you can’t afford it, you can’t go. Add up all those necessary costs to make a rounded number and subtract that from your balance. Anything you have left is yours to with as you please.
3. Separate your money
I find it a good idea to separate your money into two different accounts. One for all those necessary costs, then the other for my social life. This means that I don’t accidently spend my next month’s rent due to an error in judgement whilst at a bar. This isn’t a necessary thing but it’s something I like to do.
4. Use cash
According to some researchers you will spend less if you can physically see the money you’re spending rather than using a card. I don’t know why, but it seems to work for me, probably due to the pain I feel when handing over a £20 note and getting back 1p or perhaps it’s down to the fact that you can only spend what’s in your wallet.
These are a few of my tips; I’ll post up a few more in the next week. As always if you have any questions then ask away, and I’ll do my best to answer