How To Manage Your Money Better & Make It Go Further
Bad at budgeting? We’ve got it covered.
Let’s face it, budgeting can be hard. No matter how many times people talk about budgeting it doesn’t make it easy to do, especially if your money is limited in the first place. As a student, there can be lots of unexpected costs that come up such as prescriptions or a spontaneous night or meal out which can accidentally cost more than you were planning. Luckily, there are lots of ways to help you better manage your money and make it go further.
How to manage your money
1. Track your spending
After a few months in uni you should have a good idea of what types of things you’re spending your money on. However, while you might know that you’re going to be spending money each month on food, clubs or clothes you might not know just how much you’re spending, so it’s a good idea to track exactly where your money is going so you can see if you can make cut backs.
Several banking apps such as Monzo and Revolut categorise your spending and give you monthly reports so you can see how much money you’re spending per month in certain restaurants or shops or how much you’re spending on entertainment as a whole. If you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, you can keep a note of your monthly outgoings in a diary or planner or on the notes app on your phone.
Seeing how much you spend each month on various things is a great way to see how you can make your money go further. If you’re spending a lot more money than you thought on coffee for example, it might be the time to get a takeaway cup and start making it at home instead. If you do find you’re spending a lot on one certain thing per month you can prioritise on what is most important to you. For example, if you could only choose one would you rather spend your money on takeaways or new clothes? By prioritising, you’ll can make cut backs on other expenses, to spend on the stuff you really want.
2. Don’t neglect your savings
Saving is a good skill to learn from early on and to get into the habit of when you have any form of regular income, whether it’s from a student loan or a part-time job. Obviously, as a student who is budgeting you’re not expected to have a huge amount of savings but starting as soon as you can helps to set the expectation to do so when you’re eventually working full-time.
Whether it’s £5 or a bit more, every little helps and adds up. When you have a savings account you’ll also get interest on your savings too, which is basically extra money as a reward for putting it aside. Many apps or types of savings accounts like ISAs also allow you to control when you can withdraw money from your savings account, meaning once you’ve put it in it has to stay there to stop you from being tempted to remove it.
Monzo also has a feature which helps you to save money without even realising it! When you make purchases it will round the money up and put the extra into a savings pot for you. So if you spend £3.72 it will round this purchase up to £4 but put 28p into savings for you and this can add up really quickly.
3. Create a monthly budget
Sounds obvious but a monthly budget is the best place to start. Once you have a good idea of your monthly outgoings and how much you’re spending on certain things, you can use it to make a pretty solid monthly budget.
Start by adding the costs of your rent and any bills including your phone bill per month. Then add in subscription services or any other direct debits you might have like Netflix, Disney+ or Spotify. After that you should be able to see how much money you’ll have left for the rest of the month to spend on your social life or on personal items.
Try and be realistic when allocating a budget to things such as nights out or clothes. The average uni student will probably spend a lot more than they care to admit on going out and socialising, but budgeting for it can help your money last longer. Think about it like this, would you rather have one amazing night or meal out at the start of the month where you blow all of your money at once, or several equally good ones throughout the month?
If you don’t stick to your monthly budget, you can rework it and adjust accordingly for the next month based on what you learnt from the month before.
4. Make the most of discounts and vouchers
Being a student isn’t cheap but luckily there are some great perks and advantages to it too. First of all, your Student Beans account can help you to save money on all of your favourite brands, so you never have to pay full price. Lots of places will offer student prices or cheaper entry for students too, so definitely keep an eye out.
5. Review your bills
If you have a lot of monthly outgoings for your phone or streaming services this can add up. Try and find a cheaper phone plan as sometimes a lot of plans come with unlimited data which you pay extra for and you might not actually be using it. If you pay for Netflix, Disney+ etc why not ask your housemates to team up and see if you want to split the costs between you and share an account? This way you’re paying a fraction of what you would normally, and you all get something out of it, rather than all paying full price for individual memberships.
Budgeting can be a challenge but by following these steps you can easily keep track of your money and make it last longer each month. For more tips on how to manage your money check out the average student budget per week and the essential list of cheap foods to add to your weekly shopping list.