I hope all of you are enjoying your Easter holiday and eating lots of chocolate. Inbetween the frantic last week hand-ins and the impending exam season, I’m trying to soak up as much relaxation as possible, as in, sleeping till noon and playing xbox. Still, the blog life chose me so today I’m gonna drop some knowledge on you about budgeting.
I know, budgeting, money, responsibility and all of that business probably makes you feel vaguely ill when you think about it, but a little bit of effort now is going to save you untold oceans of hassle in the future.
Firstly, make a monthly budget, know what you’ve got coming in and going out. There are loads of great tutorials and guides on the internet about how to do this, like this one and this one just for starters, google is your friend with this.
If you’re not sure on the amounts of money you are going to be entitled to, call and check, there isn’t a government agency out there that is going to chase you up and tell you you’re missing out. So BE PROACTIVE.
After you’ve worked out where your money is going, now comes the fun bit. Just how to spend that sad little amount left over after rent and bills. I’m gonna share with you my pro tips, picked up over the last, oh forever, of being broke.
- Prioritise your spending. If you need regular medication, make that top of your list. Now you’re a student you are going to have to pay for that. That’s £7.85 per item. If you need medication long term, you can buy certificates for 3 or 12 months that can save you money. The NHS has some information about it here. Your health is a top priority and nobody ever had any fun by not taking their necessary meds. The same goes for dentist bills. Be prepared to pay for this stuff.
- Sensible food shopping. I’m not talking about living off 9p noodles for 3 years (although that does happen) I’m talking about not spending £20 on take out pizza when you can feed yourself for a week on the same cash. Buy real food, and if possible, go to a large supermarket to do so. Those little Tesco Express stores and Sainsburys Local are easy fair enough, but they often charge way more for exactly the same product than the same brand supermarket does. You’re paying sometimes double for the convenience and that is going to add up. We are gonna be coming back to this in a later post m’kay.
- If you’re a drinker, be a smart partier. Yes you’re broke but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to cut loose and have a good time every so often. Go to student bars, you’re gonna meet more people and have way more fun and for goodness sake stay away from the cocktail menu. Yes they are delicious but you’re budget ain’t gonna stretch to £6 a drink. Drink what’s on offer, chill with your friends and have fun, there will be a time in your life for sipping overpriced vodka and this is not it.
- Finally, use the Mum Rule. If you’re thinking about making that risky purchase, ask yourself, honestly, if you would openly tell your mother how much you just spent and on what. 9 times out of 10 the answer is ‘good god no’. If you need to, play the conversation in your head “Hey mum, so yeah I just bought this super cute coat..yeah..no, Zara, yeah, a hundred and ten…mm, well I know its a lot but” You get the idea. Feel the shame, put the gorgeous shoes back, congratulate yourself on a job well done.
I know its a pain in the butt and thinking about finances and responsibility is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl but the sooner you start doing this stuff, the easier its gonna be and ultimately, your life is going to be vastly improved. So boss up, just for an hour and sort out a budget plan, then you can go back to looking at cats on the internet with a clear conscience. Yay cats!