Coming to university is likely the first time that a lot of us will have to manage our own money, and to do this properly, we need to be able to budget.
I know, budgeting! What a big, scary, adult word! But uni really is the best time to learn.
From making sure rent, bills, food and expenses are all paid, to putting money in savings or buying that thing you REALLY want, you need to know where – and how much of – your money is going out each month. But never fear! Here are some all-important tips for managing your money.
Know how much you have!
In order to even begin to start budgeting, you need to know what you have and what you spend. I would recommend going through your bank statements and writing down how much you get (from student finance, jobs, bursaries etc.), and your regular payments (for rent, phone bill, streaming services etc).
Once you know how much you absolutely NEED to spend a month, you’ll be able to work out how much money you have left for everything else.
If you find that you don’t have much money left to play with, don’t panic! Speak to the Student Support Centre about Financial Assistance Funds and you might be surprised at the range of help on offer to you, including a Term Time Fund, Course-related Travelling Grant, or a Commuting Travel Grant. They also have a pre-recorded workshop called ‘Make your money go further’ which is a great start if you’d like to get your finances ironed out.
Watch out for hidden expenses
This is where a lot of people get caught out when budgeting for the first time.
Don’t go to the local shop to buy all of your groceries, it could cost more. When buying your groceries, do a big online shop (if you don’t have a car) and make sure you factor in your essentials, like toiletries, when you do so.
You’ll likely get way more value for your money and can buy enough food to last several weeks.
Use a budgeting tool
These apps show you exactly where your money is going and allow you to set limits on how much you spend on certain products a month. They’re easy to use and can help you change your buying behaviours if need be.
Speak to the Advice Service
Don’t stress! Someone is always there to help.
The Advice Service have lots of tips and classes to help you learn how to effectively budget. They offer advice on housing, debt and funding, and can help you to apply for extra help with finances.
For more information, visit the Student Services website and check out what they can do to help.
Hopefully these tips have got you thinking and will help you to become a budgeting god!
If you would like to learn more tips and get an insight into how other students manage their money, check out the Fresher Take Podcast! You can also check out this awesome video by Malene that goes into more detail on how to budget as a student.