One of the things a lot of students worry about when going to or coming back to university is how to budget. Obviously you get student loans, but this won’t always cover the things you need in your day to day life, and the transition from living at home and spending a certain amount there, to living independently and having to spend wisely can be quite difficult. So I’m going to try and talk through the ways in which I budget my money, and hopefully it will be useful!
1: Write down what you spend each day
I’ve got an old notebook from home, and which I call my budget book, and I write down everything I’ve spent in the day. I usually do this at the end of the day, and if I’ve spent over my limit (which is £15), then I’ll try and spend less the next day. My limit is just something I discussed with my parents, and we looked at the amount of money I get, and worked out roughly how much I will be able to spend per day.
This will be a different amount for different people, depending on how much money you are given, but it’s a good way to getting used to only spending a certain amount. Now I’ve been back at university for a month, I feel like it’s not as necessary to always be writing things I spend each and everyday, but it keeps you thinking about what you need rather than what you want.
2: Keep your receipts
It sounds simple, but it’s a good way to see how much you spend- whether it’s a weekly food shop or a daily food shop. You can also look around at other supermarkets and compare prices and deals, and see which ones will save you more money overall! It’s also probably worth getting a nectar card if you’re with Sainsbury’s, or an equivalent if you shop at other supermarkets, because you can build up points and eventually you can save even more money!
3: Get a Student Discount card
Again, simple but necessary. Not all shops or restaurants accept your student ID as a student discount card, because it doesn’t always have an expiry date. If you’re a student in the UK, you can get an NUS card, which costs £12 per year, or you can get one for the whole three years that you’re studying, and if you get this one then it saves more money than if you just buy a new annual one each year. You can also use an app called Unidays, which I believe most stores accept, so you just make an account, show them the discount code on your phone, and then you save money!
4: Look for food deals
If you order food from places like Domino’s Pizza, there are a lot of discounts you can use, so make sure to keep an eye out on the website, or even go into the store and pick up a leaflet. They have a deal on Tuesdays where you can buy one pizza and get one free which is very popular, so make sure to keep that in mind! It’s also quite good because Domino’s is quite pricey, so if you buy one get one free and share it with a friend, you can split the price and it will be better off for both of you!
This also applies for when you’re food shopping at supermarkets, so make sure you look at certain aisles which have discounts. Also look for the supermarket own brand- they may not have the fancy packaging, or look special in any way, but at the end of the day, food is food and you can’t be fussy when you’re a poor student living on a strict budget!
So those are some of my tips for budgeting! I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any more budgeting tips, make sure to leave them in the comments.
All for now!