After Fresher’s week and all that partying and freedom, it’s no surprise that you’re finding that your bank account is looking a bit sorry for itself.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, read our tips on how to budget what’s left of your money.
Look at what you have
You’ve probably got a student loan coming through regularly, and you might also have a job. It might be worth getting a job if you’re a keen party goer, so you know you can afford it. Have a look at the Employment Bureau to get a job that fits around your studies.
Once you’ve worked out what you have coming in, you need to work out how much your rent is going to be. This is unfortunately going to be a large chunk of your student loan. But you know that whatever is left is yours to spend.
Then, you’ll want to divide that money you have left by the weeks you will be staying away from home. This is your weekly budget. Add to that any money you will have coming in from a job, or from your parents. This is now yours to do as you see fit.
Be smart with your spending
We know how tempting it is to go out every night with your friends… trust us. But that’s not always a smart idea. How much does it cost you on a typical night out?
Save these nights out for a treat every so often. Or, if you really can’t help but go out regularly, why don’t you try having a few drinks with your friends before you go? Alcohol bought from supermarkets is far cheaper than in clubs. Also, try taking cash instead of your card. That way, you’ll know exactly what your allowance is for the night.
The same goes for your food shopping
It’s easy to buy big brands like Dolmio or Andrex, because you think you’re getting quality for your money. But in reality, there’s not much difference between these bigger brands and supermarket cheaper own brands – except the price. You could be saving yourself a lot of money, simply by swapping brands. Keep an eye out for deals as well – sometimes it can work out cheaper to get a more expensive brand on discount than a cheaper brand.
Another good tip is to make your own sauces. Buying a pasta sauce seems so much easier than making your own, but this is another way you could save a lot of money. Get yourself stocked up on supermarket own brand chopped tinned tomatoes, add some stock of your choice, and some herbs. Easy peasy!
Grab a bargain when you can
There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy spending money on things you want to. Maybe it’s a new outfit, or your favourite chocolate. You can wait for sales and discounts when it’s lower in price. You can also use store loyalty points when they’ve added up to buy the things you really want.
Don’t forget about the NUS cards. These are great if you love to go shopping, or just want to save money in general. You can get discounts from 10% at many of your favourite stores and restaurants. We have some articles about NUS such as this one about stretching your loan further, and this one about getting your Halloween costume on a bargain.
Use our services!
If you’re still struggling, that’s absolutely fine, and completely normal. This is probably the first time you’ve ever had to do anything like this, so please don’t worry – you’re doing fine. Come see our Advice Service for some confidential one-on-one advice – you can request an appointment here. Or, check out the money advice team here. They can help you find out what money you are entitled to and can help you to budget your money.
Finance is hard, and it’s okay to feel like you’re struggling. But use the help available, and be savvy with your money, and you’ll be absolutely fine!