Yes, that’s right we are talking about the M-word… money. There. I said it and I haven’t been struck by a lightning bolt! No one ever really talks about money, so I’m here to help you out with tips I’ve learned along the way. If you are starting University, the chances are you haven’t had to pay for accommodation, food and nights out by yourself, and that’s where I come in handy. We are going to go through a crash course on understanding your finances and setting realistic goals for your time at University!
Reality Check Incoming!
The most common mistake of students budgeting is setting an unrealistic budget. I can guarantee that you will end up getting takeaway multiple times (it’s only a problem when the delivery driver knows you!). You will grab a coffee before lectures to wake you up from that heavy night where you bought drinks for far too many people. So, let’s just make a budget that includes all the above and more! Creating a good, effective budget means you will be able to look back on your University experience positively, a time where you created memories, not one filled with dread of paying your next rent installment.
First Things First…Outgoings
Outgoings are your expenses that are the same week in, week out. They are predictable and rarely change. These outgoings include rent payments, any subscriptions like Netflix or Apple Music (top tip- students can get 50% off Apple Music with a valid Unidays account) and transport costs. Write them down, know them and understand them. This sounds weird, but most people have a fear of seeing their bank balance depleting, which leaves them at a disadvantage when it comes to money management. In doing this, we have a clear idea of what is left to budget with.
At University there are expenses – a lot of them. Creating a weekly budget is the best way to manage and stay on top of them. This means you’re allowing yourself a certain amount of money for certain things. For example, setting aside £20.00 per week for your food shop should allow you to get enough food for the week, in my experience. Giving yourself a budget like this means that you can begin to forecast your expenses. Try to stick to budgeting like this as much as possible. Of course, you will splurge at some points, we all do! Do the same thing for going out money and clothes!
Here are some quick helpful additions to your budgeting that will help save money:
- I could not recommend meal prep enough! It keeps the costs low and you know you always have something ready to be chucked into the microwave!
- When doing your food shop have a look to see if your supermarket of choice has a rewards scheme available, every little helps.
- Try a day where you don’t spend anything! This can be done pretty easily if you have spent the day going to lectures and studying. Taking a day off may also mean more wiggle room in other areas of your budget!
- Be honest with yourself. Know what you have to spend and know where your money is going. And yes, tapping ApplePay is real money leaving your account! Don’t be afraid to ask if places do student discounts. They’re there for a reason, you might as well get all the benefits!
Hopefully, this will have given you an idea of how to be comfortable with your money whilst at University. Sticking to a budget will ensure you have enough money to complete the academic year (yes, this does happen) and still enjoy all the perks University life has to offer!