Anyone who has spent time living as a student knows that sometimes it can be a struggle, financially. Many students who want to find a way to incorporate more balance into their life seek out student budget advice. Heavy course loads, lack of time for a job, and conservative student loans mean that for most students, an excess in cash is not usually the case.
But there’s nothing that a bit of budgeting can’t solve. Budgeting is a fact of adult life - you have to fully understand your incomings and outgoings to make sure you can make ends meet (and have some leftover for fun!), and young adults should start preparing to budget as students. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming - read on to discover our top tips for student budgeting advice.
One of the most important rules of budgeting is to look at all of your expenses. It’s hard to stay on top of what you need to pay and what’s coming into your account without having a visual overview of it all. A simple spreadsheet or Google Sheet with all of your outgoings each month can be a huge help. It takes all of the guesswork out of your finances, meaning you’re less likely to find any issues throughout the month where you run out of money for the essentials.
Money Saving Expert has brilliant resources on budgeting templates as well as apps that you can use to do the work for you when it comes to managing your budget. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Save Before Spending
A great rule of thumb is to save your money before spending it. Not all university students will be able to put money into savings if they’re just living on student grants, but if you’re also working it’s definitely a possibility (in some cases). So whether you’re trying to just make sure you have enough tucked away to pay for your outgoings, or you actively want to save for your future, a holiday, or a big purchase, save first.
This means that as soon as your money becomes available to you, you sit down and crunch your numbers, making sure you have set aside exactly what you need for expenses and savings. Then you look at the rest and see where you can play around, have some fun spending money for non-essential purchases and socialising. Many people make the mistake of just spending what they want to on payday, and then scramble to see what’s left for their bills. You always want to take the opposite approach to this - savings and expenses first, and then fun money!
Have Separate Accounts for Separate Expenses
Something else that can really help is having more than one bank account for your different financial needs. Arranging it so that all of your bills and day-to-day expenses like food or car expenses come out of one account, and then allocating your spending money and savings to other accounts, reducing the risk of something going wrong and money coming from the wrong pot for the wrong thing.
Keeping everything separate is also a great way to go if you tend to not be great with money, as it gives you instant clarity over what you have left for your bills, spending money and so on without having to work out the math on the spot or consult your spreadsheets on the spot.