Budgeting is hard enough without being a student but as a student, it’s 10x worse. People think students are made of money, especially my parents. They think because we get a termly loan in bulk that it lasts forever and we can live off it. This isn’t true at all.
In fact, throughout the whole of my student life I’ve always had money problems and had to work. It just happens. Life happens, you may need dental treatment, car needs insuring or perhaps your laptop breaks. These things happen and you have to decide whether it’s worth funding and whether you have the money for it.
What’s worse is that nobody prepares you to do your own finances. There isn’t a class that you go to before you finish school that helps you figure out how to sort your life out. You’re thrown into the deep end and you’re automatically supposed to know how to do it. In fact, in my first year of uni I was so unprepared that I’ve gone £1000 into an overdraft and haven’t properly paid it back yet.
Before I headed to uni I sat down and tried to figure out how I’ll survive with a very minimal student loan and having to find a job that pays enough to last me a week and allows me to save money.
Step 1: I figured out how much loan I get per term. This allowed me to see what I can pay for and how long the money will last.
Step 2: How much rent do you have to pay? Do you own a car? Children? Pets? Figure out what priorities you have and what you could remove to help minimise the amount of money that goes out each month.
For me, my mum pays my phone bill still so I only had to pay my accommodation, credit card, new look store card and my course fees.
Step 3: Determine how much you have left and how much you need to spend a week to allow you to last the term with the rest of your money.
Step 4: I knew I needed a job to maintain a healthy bank balance during my masters so I figured out how many hours I would need a week to give me enough money to cater for me. I figured I’d need at least a 20 hour a week job that gives me around £140 a week. Most of which I can save.
Helpful tip: Use a budget organiser to keep yourself in track of your finances. Either make your own or you can get one from paperchase and other stores. They’re incredibly worth while for you to figure out what you’ve been spending your money on and areas that you need to cut down on.
With love, Beth x