Monitoring your spending may seem like hard work. It’s amazing how your money seems to vanish into thin air. But budgeting’s just like anything else, you learn to do it by understanding how and then practising loads.
To avoid disappointing and surprising bank balances, follow these tips to save money at university.
As tedious as this may sound, I have found it really useful to keep a record of how much money I spend every day. Don’t overthink it or make it too difficult for yourself – I simply record things on my phone and then transfer them into a notebook at the end of the day.
I also keep track of what I spend my money on. Knowing where your money goes will help you adjust your spending.
Read more: 6 Brilliant budgeting apps for students
Budgeting isn’t very fun, but having money to do fun stuff is. When you simply wander around and buy random things, you can end up spending quite a lot without even realising it.
Set yourself a budget for essentials such as food, transport, and going out. You will have a better understanding of how much money is left for other things, like shopping or cinema trips.
I always found myself buying groceries last minute and making up to seven shopping trips per week. This may sound convenient, but it ends up costing so much more.
Buying in bulk saves both time and money. You can usually find an Iceland or Aldi nearby to make your weekly shop easier and cheaper.
Even if you haven’t paid for an NUS student card, you can still enjoy student discounts in numerous stores on everything from food to electronics. Shops quite often don’t advertise their student discounts so it’s always worth asking at the till.
I have discovered these discounts by accident in stores that I have been using for a long time.
Talking to others about money may not seem appropriate, but we shouldn’t feel embarrassed doing it. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing how to manage your finances.
For most students, university is our first proper experience away from home and there are lots of other things to worry about, on top of managing your money.
Ask your parents and older students if they have any useful tips. It may also be worth speaking to your student services team, as they’re likely to have lots of valuable information to offer.
Good luck and don’t despair. Now you have the tools, a little practice and perseverance will help you manage your finances in no time.