Student loans are great; as soon as they come in you feel incredibly rich and you even get them three times a year. At least that’s what my younger self-thought when she first came to university until she spent all of the student loan and still had a month to go until the next installment.
Having to ask my parents to lend me money only a few months after coming to university was one of the most uncomfortable moments in my life, which is why I came up with a good way to budget.
The first step is to find out the exact dates you get paid and put them in a calendar. Now you have to figure out how many months and weeks you have in between the installments. The next step is to figure out your monthly costs, these may differ depending on if you live in a bills included house or a standard rental with utility bills. Costs to take into consideration for this are:
· Council tax
· Mobile phone bill
· Liability Insurance
· Phone Insurance
· Car Insurance
· Public transport
· Food shops
Put these into an Excel sheet and put the amount you pay into the neighbouring cell. Now add it all up and see how much you spend in a month. If you’re not sure on some of them like utility bills, calculate them a bit higher than you expect them to be, just to make sure you actually have the money. These are the essentials, you won’t get out of paying for them. I mean you can get rid of extras such as Netflix and Spotify, but let’s be honest they feel like essential things you need too, so let’s try to keep them.
Now, look at how many months you have until you receive your next installment and figure out how much money you have left after you paid for all of these. In case you have a part-time job, add your average monthly pay as well. Whatever you have left over you can either split into savings and spending money or you can just spend all of it if you like.
I split it into savings and spending money, which means half of it I put into my savings account and don’t touch it. The other half is split into the number of weeks I have until the next instalment and with this, I give myself a weekly allowance, such as 20 pounds. This is basically my fun fund, which I take out in cash every week, so I can clearly see how much I spent. I use it on a new top for a night out, on a cup of coffee with my friends in between lectures, on a few hours in a trampoline park, or to go see the newest Marvel film at the cinema.
However much I don’t spend of my weekly allowance I put into my Piggy bank and use it to treat myself to something bigger, later on. Of course, you don’t have to be as radical as me, you could put less in your savings account or just use your savings occasionally to treat yourself, but I found it to be a quite good solution. In my first two years at university, I saved enough money to buy myself a new gaming laptop in my third year.