Budgeting and managing your money are great skills to learn while you are University. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Try filling in our interactive budget planner...
Interactive Budget Planner
...or complete this monthly Cashflow Forecaster instead. It will help you to see when you may go overdrawn, so you can plan accordingly.
BE ABSOLUTELY HONEST when filling in the amounts. There is no point budgeting if you forget to put down money for coffee, magazines or haircuts. You may find it helps to keep a spending diary for a week if you are unsure where your money goes.
PRIORITISE where you spend your money. What is essential?
Accommodation will always be the biggest expense. Individual priorities will vary but it is essential to have food, shelter, warmth and light. Make sure you have enough money to pay for basic foodstuffs, rent, gas and electricity.
BE DISCIPLINED with your spending. Make shopping lists and stick to them; try to cut out 'impulse' buys, those bargains that seem like a good deal at the time, but later on you wonder why you bought the item!
DON'T FEEL PRESSURED into keeping up with your friends who are flashing the cash. Don't be embarrassed to skip a few nights out, takeaways, coffees, etc. to ensure you keep within your budget. You'll be glad you did.
REVIEW your budget regularly.
- Is there anything missing?
- Do I want to/need to alter my spending habits?
- Have I got my priorities right?
...AND ALWAYS STICK TO YOUR 3 QUESTION MONEY MANTRA!
- Do I need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Can I find it cheaper elsewhere?
For more information on planning your budget and sticking to it, have a look at our 'Budgeting' handout.