Saving money can sometimes feel impossible when it’s being stretched between bills, social activities and daily expenses like travel. Student Writer Taz shares her method of budgeting when she needs some extra cash saved up.
Knowing where to start when it comes to saving for something nice can often be tricky. Yes, as students, we may get a helping hand from Student Finance with uni life costs, but learning when you can or can’t afford to put ‘away’ some cash is a challenge. However, no matter what you’re saving for (be it the new iPhone XR, a fresh pair of Reeboks, or a summer holiday with friends), there are a number of steps you can take to improve your budgeting routine, and be on the way to achieving that big save.
Step 1: Open up a savings account.
I highly recommend a savings bank account (in addition to your regular and student accounts). Having three accounts will help you to organise your money into 1. Your own earnings 2. Your student loan 3. Your personal savings. And it’s super easy to set one up. Nowadays, most internet banking apps have the instant option to create a savings account which you can monitor and transfer money from on the same digital platform as your other accounts.
Step 2: Make a physical note of your outgoings.
The best way to keep track of your spending is to do the maths. Most people choose to do this on their phones, in their diaries, or some (tech-savvy students) on an excel sheet. Whilst this might seem a pretty tedious activity, it takes just minutes to record what you’ve spent and this could save you all kinds of money panics. The best way to organise your spending is to divide it into sections such as:
- Food shopping
It’s also ideal to give yourself a budget for each term (once you’ve received your student loan) and to work out how much you will roughly have to spend per week once you’ve paid your rent and any other essential expenses. You can also use a plus or minus column to keep track of any over and under spending you’ve done in the week and use this as a guide for what to spend in the following weeks.
Step 3: Take advantage of discounts and student offers.
If you’re like me, and LOVE a student discount, this will be the easiest step for you. Downloading apps such as Unidays and Student Beans can be a great way to save on meals out and clothes. Investing in a TOTUM card and 16-25 railcard could also save you hundreds throughout the year. Equally, there are saving schemes such as MoneyBox which do the job for you by rounding each of your outgoings up to the nearest pound and putting this away for you. Taking simple steps such as these will help you to reduce your spending and help you on the way towards that ultimate saving goal.
Step 4: Make the most of birthday money.
If you’re lucky enough to receive any additional financial help from parents, or to receive cash gifts on your birthday, don’t be foolish by spending it all at once. Why not transfer some of this money into your savings account or keep it in a safe place for emergencies or a treat?
Step 5: A job goes a long way!
The final and most important piece of advice when it comes to saving is to put the time into making it happen. Having a part-time job during the week (even if it’s just one shift a week) will make a difference and give you that extra boost of income each month. If your schedule won’t allow it at uni, why not also search for job opportunities at home for during the holidays? The more time and effort you put into earning, the bigger and better the end result will be.
For financial advice and support on campus, don’t forget to use the University’s Student Financial Support Team.