Students have a reputation for being broke. If you want to avoid resorting to the infamous parental “send money now” plea, it is important to create a budgeting plan. But being a student is an exciting and enjoyable stage of life, so it is easy to get carried away and not stick to your carefully-crafted spending plan. There are a number of steps you can take to not only craft a good budgeting plan, but to give yourself the best chance of seeing it through.
When forming any kind of budget plan, it is best to start by taking stock of your situation. Work out how much money you will be receiving in loans and grants, plus any money you might get from part time work, your family, or any other source. Subtract expenses that you already know about, such as rent, to find out how much money you will have to live on. Divide it up over the number of weeks you will be living in your university accommodation to work out your maximum budget for the average week.
Set Spending Caps
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the “full student experience” and going out with friends. However, one common budgeting mistake made by students is to let themselves get carried away and spend too much on leisure things like drinks and club entry fees. The result is a tighter food budget and more danger of running out of money altogether before the term ends.
For this reason, it is important to set caps on leisure spending and stick to them. This applies not just to nights out but to other leisure items such as computer games, films and so on. While there is nothing wrong with spending money on these things per se, it is important to ensure that this non-essential spending does not get in the way of more essential things like food and bill payments. It is often a good idea to include takeaways and restaurants in your leisure budget rather than your food budget, as they tend to be significantly more costly than eating at home.
Spending caps often work well as a weekly budget. Work out how much you can spare for leisure expenses each week (preferably leaving a little money aside for emergencies), then simply allow yourself to spend that much each week as a maximum. If for any reason you do find yourself exceeding your weekly budget, try to make up for it by spending less the following week.
After spending the first year in halls, many students find themselves in shared private houses for the remainder of their university career. This is usually (though not always) cheaper than halls, but it does bring its own challenges. Many expenses and items will be shared, and this can lead to budgeting difficulties or to disagreements on everyone’s contribution.
If bills are paid by the landlord and included in your rent, this can often make things easier. Otherwise, make sure you keep all relevant paperwork for reference. This makes it easier to ensure everybody is contributing fairly, and to double check in the event of disagreements. It can also be a good idea for everyone to contribute to a kitty for buying shared essentials like toilet paper and washing up liquid.
This article was provided by Pure Student Property, specialists in student property investments in all major UK university towns and cities.