Students receive their Student Loan every term and it is very tempting to ‘splash the cash’ straight away and not save the money to make it last.
However, I think that saving money and creating a budget plan for yourself is an exciting and creative task to do. Students always talk about making the most of their time at university and managing finances efficiently is also part of student life. Here are 5 easy steps to successful budgeting.
1. The first step is very simple; it involves identifying your expenses so you have a general overview over what you are spending your money on. The easiest way to go about this is to observe yourself over a period of time, a week for example and write down your total expenses.
Afterwards, you can decide where to make cuts with no troubles at all. (Click here to download the table)
2. The second step is all about deciding what period of time you want to budget for. It is usually easier to budget for just a week because that way you can try out what suits you best without wasting a lot of time.
For example, you decided that you want to spend less money on your weekly shop in order to be able to spend more on other things but then you realise that just pasta and sauce isn’t doing it for you. So it is really up to you find out what works best to control your spendings.
3. Once you have calculated your expenses it is time for step 3; deciding your individual budget. Step 1 gave you an idea how much you spend on what over a certain period of time so now all you need to do is write down a detailed plan of the aspired outgoings.
With the amount decided there is one more decision to make. Cash or Card? Personal past experiences have shown that it is more beneficial to take out the money at the beginning of the week and to just leave the bankcard at home.
On the other hand, many students have more than one bank account so the second option is to set up a standing order or transfer money via online banking. Whichever option you choose, make sure it is the best one for you.
4. The next step is potentially the most difficult one, but it doesn’t have to be. In order for your budget plan to make a difference you have to maintain it. At first it may seem like a lot of work but I promise the efforts pay off; and as Jack Johnson puts it, it’s ‘better together’ so get your friends involved and be as creative as you can.
Lastly, it is also important to be flexible so you can adapt your budget any time. Exam time is coming up and you might decide that going out is not one of your priorities, instead keeping up a healthy diet becomes more important. Be organised, be imaginative and be flexible so you can get most out of the money available to you. (Click here to download the Budget Planner)
5. Last but not least is step 5; ask for help. The Student Support Centre is here to help when students need assistance or advice. So when a student struggles to keep track of their spendings they are here as a helping hand to offer support and guidance.
All there is left to say is that budgeting is easier than many think; it is fun and being on top of your spendings can generate a satisfying feeling. So, go ahead and budget away.