Many students are finding themselves struggling with the rising costs of living. Living away from home means that you'll need to manage your money carefully. It's challenging to stay within a budget even more so when faced with a cost-of-living crisis; however, there are some tactics that can help you along the way.
Budgeting is hard, but it can be easier with the right tips and approaches.
Budgeting is a necessary evil. It's not fun but managing your money wisely can make all the difference in being able to afford what you need whilst still being able to treat yourself every now and again.
You may be surprised by how much a simple shop can cost once you're living independently! £5 for a block of mouldy cheese? We know, we can't brie-lieve it either!
All puns aside, if you're like many students, you probably didn't think about putting aside money for food shopping or doing your washing before you started uni, and then you struggle because a massive chunk (or even all!) of your maintenance loan is gone after paying for your accommodation. With some careful planning and smart decision-making, even the tightest budgets can be made workable!
Tips for saving money
While the burden of rising living costs can be a challenge for students, it's not impossible to manage. As with many things in life, planning is key - and that means budgeting and saving money as soon as possible. The first step to saving is making sure you have enough money to cover your essential living expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, food).
If you already know how the cost of your rent or mortgage, then start by looking at what else you need to pay for: utilities like electricity and water; food; transport costs; clothing; phone bills; etc. Once you have estimated these monthly costs and subtracted any potential savings from them, this will show how much money you will need each month and from there you can work out if and how much money you will have left.
Smart spending habits
- Be aware and keep track of where you are spending your money and how much you are spending.
- Set up a direct debit to pay bills, such as rent and utilities.
- Try to save a little each month, if you can, even if it's just £20 or £50.
- If possible, avoid using credit cards, loans, or overdrafts with high interest rates, as these can be very expensive over time!
Common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid
Don't live above your means. The cost-of-living crisis has hit many students hard, and it's not uncommon for people to make up for the shortfall by using credit cards or taking out short-term loans. While these measures may seem like a solution in the short term, they will only make your financial situation worse in the long run. If you're struggling with money right now, contact your Student Advice Centre, who can advise you on the support available and getting financial help.
Avoid buying unnecessary items and don't buy things that are more expensive than necessary. If you want something but don't need it, wait until you can comfortably afford it.
We hope we've given you some useful tips to help you out with managing your money. If you want to know more about how else we might help, get in touch with the Student Advice Centre.
View more resources on budgeting at university