It’s definitely no secret that student life isn’t exactly lavish or extravagant. In reality, Lidl bargains, happy hour, and student discount truly are our best friends. Now that the last instalment of your student finance has been paid in, you might be a little worried about money being tighter than before.
The job climate certainly isn’t great, and most of the studenty jobs lay in hospitality which is only now really getting back on its feet – so you might not have had that income, or been lucky enough to get furlough for the last couple of months, or maybe you’ve moved home for the summer and away from your student job. Whatever your situation, if money’s on your mind, you’re in the right place. This blog is going to focus on how to budget for the summer.
Here are five Budgeting tips I’ve found (that actually work for students):
1. Plan for the minimum, not the maximum
When we start off making a plan for money over the summer, tip number 1 is to plan for the absolute minimum income you would expect during that time. So remove all the ‘what ifs’. It’s so much better to work to a smaller amount, and then anything else is a bonus! Figure out how much you need to spend on different aspects of your day-to-day life and try to stick to your budget. These categories may be a good starting point:
- Travel (uber, trains, petrol)
- Eating out & Ordering in
- Social (nights out, cinema, gigs)
Like I mentioned above, if you receive more money than you were expecting, then recalculate. Best not to treat it as completely disposable – spend some time refiguring out the position, thinking about what you might have coming up the next week.
Think about how you want to spend it i.e. Did you have plans to travel after uni? Do you have a spenny day trip coming up? Thinking about buying a property post-graduation? Or have you been saving for a new pair of creps for aaages?
Instead of splurging your surplus income, you may want to put this to one side to make these things happen.
3. Be Realistic
It’s super important to account for the actual incomings and outgoings – so yes that means your bills – but it also means thinking about how many times on average a week you might eat out, or order in – those do add up and we sometimes forget them.
It’s also worth (as scary as it is, and as much as we all hate doing it) checking your bank balance after a night out (or big spend). You can then figure out how much you spent (ouch right?) but therefore, how much you’re perhaps likely to spend in the future. Factor this into your calculations for the next time – otherwise we can definitely forget the uber costs, late night chippy, and club entries in our sums!
4. Month by Month
After each month, it is definitely worth taking the time to look over your outgoings for the past month, and think about whether any changes need to be made in what you’ve allowed for each category.
You don’t need to feel guilty for spending, but it’s good to check yourself and make some sensible decisions before things get out of hand.
This is a great strategy that I’ve come across that you may want to bear in mind: 50% of your available money should go on necessities, 20% in savings, and 30% on discretionary items.
I also found it really useful to create a Standing Order from my current account to help me put aside the 20% I want to save.
Of course, these are all great tips to bear in mind, but sometimes we can’t control our financial situation and we may have some curve balls thrown in. If you need more advice and support about managing your money, check out our Money pages here, and as always, please do get in touch using the details below! Alternatively, if you’re at risk of financial hardship, or concerned about the sustainability of your studies, Student Advice can speak to you about some of the financial support options available to you. There’s no doubt that money can also cause a strain on our mental health sometimes, so check here for some support on that too.
This blog has been written by Charlie Mallinson from the Student Advice Team in the Students’ Union. If you would like further help and support with the issues raised in this blog, or any aspect of your student experience, please get in touch using the following links:
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410