Illustrated by Abigail Dannatt

Budgeting Tips

With the cost of living crisis causing costs to rise higher than ever before and no change in sight to…

With the cost of living crisis causing costs to rise higher than ever before and no change in sight to the student loan, budgeting is more crucial and harder than ever before. This article will aim to provide a few tips to help you save money and keep to your budget!

Write down your spending

The first step is to look at all of your finances and write down any outgoings like a phone bill or Netflix subscription, along with anything you’re saving up for. For example a new phone. Then be realistic about how much you have left over each month, splitting this into weeks can help since it’s easier to keep track if you give yourself a weekly limit. Along with adding anything you didn’t spend from the previous week to the next one. It’s crucial not to restrict yourself too much though. For example, if you enjoy studying in a coffee shop, but are spending a lot on coffee, rather than completely stopping this try to cut down on the days you go and change your study environment instead. A spreadsheet is a great way to do this clearly and there are a lot of free-to-use templates online.

Cheaper alternatives

Another tip is to look at your current spending and see where you can cut corners. For example, if you’re buying a coffee out every day but stopping yourself from buying pre-made coffee in the supermarket, it could be cheaper to buy a couple to-go coffees and study in the library instead of spending five pounds on a coffee. Additionally, shopping around could help too. Supermarkets are constantly increasing prices and taking an hour to check online which is the cheapest for your needs could save a lot of money in the long run. Even if you can’t travel to the supermarket yourself, you could order online and split the delivery cost with friends.

Set yourself budgeting goals

Another tip is to challenge yourself, set yourself a goal and give yourself a reward when you achieve it. For example, if you’re guilty of ordering takeaway a few times a week when you can’t be bothered to cook, try to see how long you can go without one. Once you go a certain amount of time treat yourself to something you’ve been wanting (within your budget of course!). Similarly, if you enjoy going out for date nights with friends but find it’s eating up most of your money, try to find an alternative instead. For example, instead of going out for cocktails you could make your own at home with a theme, or do a paint-and-sip night! Despite a bottle of vodka being close to £20, a cocktail itself is almost £10 and won’t last as long! With nights getting lighter this is the perfect excuse for a picnic or evening walk to explore new parts of Lincoln. Moreover, when you do want to go out and treat yourself, spend a bit of time researching what places have student deals or reward systems. This might only save a few pounds but add up over a few weeks it can quickly come to a lot and stops you from spending more money than you need to.

Prioritise

Finally, with budgeting comes sacrifice and there will be times when you won’t be able to do or have things you really want. Creating a priority list can help you see what’s important to you and show you where you could cut costs, even more, to enjoy yourself in other areas. For example, if you’ve realised you enjoy a night out more than a takeaway coffee every day, giving this up would mean you don’t need to miss out on nights out that you enjoy more.

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