University was a long time ago for me now…. I graduated in 2009. My budgeting is much better today, but back then it was shocking! With new found freedom, and a student loan, the temptation to spend was immense. I just spent how I pleased.
I don’t want that to happen to you!
So check out this contributed post today for some tips on what not to leave out of your budget so that you can leave university stressing only about what you want to do with your life, not about how much money you have (or don’t).
If you are going to university for the very first time then you will know how exciting this can be. You will also know how fun it can be to live independently and take hold of the reins of your own life! The problem that a lot of students have is that money can be a real dampener on the excitement. For this reason, they find it hard to go out and actually enjoy themselves as a result, or blow everything too quickly while having an amazing time, and then have to live off budget beans for the rest of term.
But with a well thought out budget you can avoid the trap of overspending, getting into debt and feeling broke all the time. Here are some things not to forget when you’re setting up your first ever uni budget!
It’s important that you have some time where you can go out and blow off some steam. You may want to play sport, go to a club or even spend time at a gig. If you don’t give yourself this time then the whole uni experience will probably be enough to drive you crazy. For this reason, you need to allocate yourself some fun money so that you can enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, and it is more than possible for you to take advantage of cinema offers and even cheap days out (don’t forget your NUS card!!).
If you are staying in any form of student lettings then it will be likely that water and electricity are included in the fee that you pay. This will not be the case if you are staying in private housing and you need to account for this. When you look at your rent, you need to also put some extra away so that you can cover expenses like a TV license, council tax and all the usual household bills. Make sure you regularly use switching services online and get the best deals possible.
If you’re sharing with others, an agreement needs to be in place about how the bills are going to be paid. This can be a stressful process, especially if someone is regularly late paying their bills, and it requires a huge amount of trust. Thankfully there are apps that can help! Think carefully about how you’re going to manage this so that the process is as harmonious as possible!
Plan For The Unexpected
The more money you can save on your expenses then the more flexibility you will have in your budget. We need as big a gap as possible between how much income you have, and how many things you spend your money on. Some of it needs to be saved for the “oh shit, x,y,z just happened and I need money” times, aka the emergency fund.
There will be some unexpected expenses that you totally forgot to include in the budget, but if you have flexibility, it won’t be as stressful. Don’t forget that you’ll need to buy books, stationary, household equipment like pots, pans, cutlery etc, and if you need a car, the money to keep it running and in full working order! Start a stockpile of stuff that you need leading up to moving to uni so that it doesn’t feel like a huge burden. Get a summer job and save up ready for it.
Like it or loathe it, at the end of the day, budgeting is such an important part of your life as a student. If you can work alongside your studies without compromising them, then you’ll be in a much more stable situation than your peers. University is a perfect place to learn more than just the academic stuff. Life skills like how to manage money are so important, so get active and start learning today!
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