August 5, 2019, by Shweta
I’m about to enter my 4th year of university education. 4 years! There was once a time I didn’t think I would even make it this far. Regardless, I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for my time in Nottingham and the lessons that I have learnt. One of the bigger things that I’ve managed to wrap my head around is budgeting. Being a student is scary. From enjoying the comforts of your family home to living by yourself, moving to university is a GIANT learning curve and sometimes, spending a £100 on the high street or at a bar can make you feel better. We’ve all been there. Having said that, there is nothing more important than learning sound money management. Here are some ways in which you can make the most of what’s in your bank account whilst still saving for the future.
For starters, download Splitwise (or a similar shared-expenses tracker). How many times have you leant a couple quid only to feel bad about asking for it back since it’s such a small amount? How many times have your mates sat around the dinner table arguing about who owes another and how much? That’s where apps like Splitwise come in handy. You and your mates can log expenses over time and the app will track and calculate amounts so that everyone gets paid back. Even better? It will send you a run-down of your expenses, borrowed and lent, at the end of each month so you know where your money is going. This app is one of the reasons why my housemates and I are so happy to lend each other money because we know it’s being tracked and will thus be paid back and not forgotten.
Secondly, set yourself a budget. I, personally, like the 50-30-20 rule where 50% of your budget goes toward “needs”, like your rent, 30% towards “wants”, like takeout, and the remaining 20% towards savings. However, there is no hard and fast rule to budgeting. Sit down with your bank statement and analyse where most your funds are going. Make sure to allocate money towards paying off any debts/loans and savings.
The ‘direct debit trick’ is another one I like to use. This involves channelling all funds entering your account into a separate savings account and then having an automatic monthly direct debit set up into your checking account. This way, you only have direct access to a specific amount and therefore, more likely to be mindful of your usage.
Finally, take full advantage of your student status. Make use of student discounts via Unidays and free giveaways at university fairs. This will help save you money in the long run.
Money management is key to ensuring you don’t spend the rest of your life in crushing debt. And there’s never a harm in learning early. Use your time at university to learn the value of a pound and how to maximise your earnings for a better future.
Until next time,