ACCOUNTING AND BUSINESS STUDENT, REBECCA, SHARES HER TOP TIPS ON SAVING MONEY WHILST AT UNIVERSITY…
As an Accounting and Business student, its fair to say I think a lot about money – how much I have and how much (more) I want to have. These are some of the ways I ensure I’m always in the black and I am financially stress free…
Firstly at the beginning of the academic year, or term, sit down with a pen and paper and do some basic calculations. In simple terms it’s all about: Money in vs. Money out. ‘Money in’ is simple: loan + job + cash from parents. For me, I like to keep my ‘money out’ as strictly fixed costs: Rent + gym. Thus giving me a spending total for the term/year. I then divide this by the number of weeks I will be at university and create a weekly budget. At this point, you can perform a quick sense check – does this amount seem too much/too little? If this weekly budget is greater than what you usually spend/want to spend (lucky you!) – shave a little off and put that aside as ‘savings’. If you are struggling to work out just how you can live on the weekly amount, re-evaluate your ‘money in’: Maybe look into getting a job, or asking your parents for a little support.
Budgeting can seem difficult, it takes some self control and discipline – but there’s one simple thing that has made is very easy for me.
I have two bank accounts – my ‘main account’ and my ‘weekly account’. All ‘Money in’ goes into the ‘main account’, and a direct debit set up between the two accounts transfers my weekly budget (calculated above) into my ‘weekly account’ for spending. Thus I never spend from my ‘main account’ and I am always limited to spending within my weekly budget by spending out of my ‘weekly account’. This ensures I never spend above my weekly budget, and enables me to keep tabs to my spending throughout the week and term.
Living as a student can seem challenging as our ‘money in’ is limited (to a loan… which essentially is debt). However, we can manage our finances through controlling ‘money out’/spending. It is good to have an idea of how much money you spend, for example how much your weekly food shop costs, how much you spend on nights out, and travel, and shopping, and eating out… and everything else there is to spend money on! For many, food shopping and going out are the two most expensive outgoings. In terms of cutting the groceries bill: I have found the most efficient way to reduce food waste and impulse buys is through planning meals and writing a shopping list when off to the supermarket/online shop. This limits your spending to what you actually need, which may turn out to be a lot less than what you thought you needed!