For many students, going to university signals the first time in their lives where they must learn to budget. Budgeting your personal finance is monumentally important for later life, so the earlier you adopt some smart money habits, the better.
To help you get to grips with budgeting, here are some top tips.
1. Familiarise yourself with your financial situation
Before you do anything (especially before you spend), find out exactly how much money you have. Take into account your income (if you’re not earning this could include scholarship funds, government grants or allowance from your parents) and your regular expenses (rent, bills, travel, food and groceries, entertainment and personal care).
2. Create your budget
Once you have outlined exactly how much you have incoming and what your outgoings are, it’s time to create your budget for the next week or month. Remember: be realistic and make room for savings and emergencies!
If you’re stuck on percentages, you may choose to follow the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of your income will go on essential expenses (rent, bills, food and groceries, etc.), 20% will go into your savings and 30% will be yours to play with (non-necessities like entertainment and shopping indulgences). Many students find this to be effective way to have fun and also save money.
3. Track your spending
To help you stick to your budget, you must track your spending. Apps like Mint are incredibly easy to use, as you can link it to your bank account and it will track and categorise your spending for you. Or, if you are a Microsoft Excel whiz you can download the Excel app and manually enter all of your spendings and ensure you’re staying on track.
Budgeting is not easy, but if you can learn to be realistic and award yourself with a treat every now and again, you’ll be just fine!