Another Saturday, another link-up post! I hope you are enjoying these? Anyway today we have Emily from Good Girl Gone Brum, who normally blogs about a whole host of topics – today she is talking all about money and university. I’ve found it a really helpful read, so I hope you will too!
As a student, the world of loans, grants, rent and bills can feel like a bit of a minefield. Unlike having a job, your money comes in at irregular times in irregular amounts, making budgeting confusing and hard, especially if what is coming in won’t exactly leave you rolling in it.
There are however ways to manage our money and get the most out of the little we do have. So if you’re the type who dips into their overdraft a little too often, grab a pen and a notepad and use these tips to get in control of your cash.
Set up a student account and a savings account
- Setting up two bank accounts will help you keep more control of your money, and now with internet banking it is super easy to swap money between them.
- A savings account is useful for, er, saving – but it’s also good for unexpected expenses, like a friends birthday or having to replace the toaster.
Know what’s coming in and how long it will last
- Student finance money should go into your account at the start of each term. Know how much this is going to be; if you’ve lost the original letter you can log in online.
- Next, know how much your rent and bills will cost you until your next instalment. Put this amount aside mentally by writing it down – don’t touch this money, treat it as if it’s not yours.
- After you’ve taken this money away, a lot of us are left with very little. If you have a part time job, write down the realistic amount you expect to earn until the next instalment of student finance and add this on to the money that you have left to spend. More often that not, students have no other option than to rely on their parents to tide them over. The most important thing to do in this case is to make sure this money is planned. Work out with your folks how much you realistically need each month, and set up a direct debit – that way you can budget and you won’t need to call them again asking for more money towards the end of the term.
Make a weekly budget
- You can do this by adding up all the money you will be getting, minus rent and bills, and dividing the total by the number of weeks between each instalment.
- Once you’ve got this figure you can work out if it’s realistic – if it’s only £30 a week you might need to either find a job or get more support from your parents, but usually between £50 – £70 is a good amount, depending on how tight you’re prepared to be.
- You don’t need to assign the money to what it will be spent on down to the last pound, but it’s a good to have a rough idea of how much you spend on your food shops, how much you need for a night out, how much it costs to do your washing if you use a laundrette and if you need to spend money on travel to uni.
Keep an eye on your spending
- Be aware of keeping to your budget. This is especially important if you pay for things on card as often the money doesn’t get taken from your account on the same day, and you might forget how much you’ve spent.
- Each week, grab a brew and sit down with your internet banking account. If you’ve got money left over from your budget, even if it’s just a fiver, transfer it to your savings. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can build up if you transfer a little bit each week. Likewise, if you’ve overspent, transfer the amount you overspent by from your savings into your current account to make sure your budget still works for the remaining weeks.
- Every now and then, do some sums to make sure you’re still on track until your next student finance chunk comes in. By having a check every now and then, you can notice if you’ve somehow overspent, before you get to the end of the term and realise you have to use your overdraft.
So good luck with your budgeting—it is boring, but it’s all part of moving into the big bad world of adulthood. Having a budget isn’t meant to stop you having a life – in fact having your money in control is the thing that will mean you can still afford to go to the end of term ball when everyone else has run out of student loan.
Thanks Emily for taking the time to contribute a guest post on my blog! Be sure to check out Good Girl Gone Brum, and remember I’m still looking for people to write posts, so if you are interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with some ideas!
What’s your best money-saving tip?