A student guide to budgeting

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2015 at 05:26

Living for the first time in a student property, there will be more things that you need to budget for that you didn’t necessarily have to take into account when in your first year.

This time round, you will need to think about putting money aside for utilities, council tax, broadband etc. You probably won’t be able to be as free and easy with your spending this year, so it’s vital you make a budget plan.

Writing it all down will help you to see if you will likely have a shortfall, it’ll help you make a decision about whether you need to get a part-time job, for example.

So what’s the best way to plan the stash? It’s best to split your list up into essentials, and then work out what’s left for luxuries.

In your essentials list will need to be (not necessarily in this order!) rent, gas/electricity, fees, books, food, internet, council tax, mobile phone, transport. There may be others, which you should include, but the list above is the absolute bare minimum you need to account for.

Then work out what’s left. It may help you to work this out on a monthly or weekly basis. I would advise a weekly basis is easier to manage, you’re less likely to overspend, and then think, ‘I’ll make it up next week’.

Then think what you are most likely to spend money on next. You will, for example, want to put money aside for socialising. You’ll perhaps want some money for new clothes, music and films too. So it might be that you put £10 a week aside for clothes, but if you want a £50 pair of trainers, you’ll have to wait five weeks for it.

Finally, think about things you really don’t need. Computer games, consoles, holidays may all have to take a back seat, it’s more important that you pay the bills on time.

Then stick to the budget. It’s all very well making plans, but you need to keep to your allowances for it to work. There are ways of making your money go further, such as walking or cycling rather than taking the bus. Cook meals and have a night in, rather than going out to the pub. Sell your books second hand after you’ve used them. Use your student discount. Shop on eBay or at discount stores. Go supermarket shopping at the end of the day to get reduced price bargains.

The more you can plan, and keep on top of your finances, the less likely you are going to find yourself in trouble. So get budgeting now, it’s the perfect time of year at the beginning of term to do this.

If you are worried about finances and money, then please do get in contact, we can work out a plan to make it achievable.

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