Let’s face it, being a student is tough. With all the deadlines, coursework and revision to crack on with, we could really do without money stress on top. Unfortunately, the reality is that dealing with our finances is inevitable. It can be very difficult – especially when your friends are going out and you genuinely cannot afford to. Now I don’t profess to be any sort of expert, I struggle just like you! But here are my top tips for staying in control.
Use your bank statements!
One of the key strategies I use to keep control, is to read my bank statement. By analysing your statement (and pushing aside your cinema tickets, drinks and payday shopping splurges for now) you can see the things that are constant month to month. Pay particular attention to direct debits (like your phone bill), ‘recurring card transactions’ (e.g. your Spotify subscription) and anything else you know has to go out every month (e.g. rent, food, petrol, train/bus tickets).
Now make those amounts stand out on the page, it’ll help you later! Use your highlighters! Now pop these numbers into a spreadsheet alongside the dates they leave your account every month. This way, you won’t be shocked when they go out!
Use what you’ve learned!
Now that you’ve planned when your payments go out, make doubly sure you never ever spend close to the total in a given month. For example, say you have £500 in outgoings every month. Try to keep £550 aside so you can be safe if things are slightly more expensive than you’d hoped. We’ve all experienced getting to the end of our data and having to pony up £8 for more!
How to save!
Saving is very important, too. If you’re in sixth form, saving any penny you can is vital for university. Whenever you get paid, decide on a percentage of your wage (minus your monthly payments from earlier) that you want to save. Then, give your savings account a nickname on the Internet Bank – preferably something like ‘SUPER IMPORTANT FUND’ so you’re discouraged from spending it!
I hope this advice has helped you, and that you’ll be able to manage your money just that little bit more successfully. Good luck!