This is what I thought budgeting was in my first year of university. I was living at home without paying rent. When I wasn’t at university I was working in retail. My parents paid for food, my car insurance and even my petrol. Every cent I earned was mine to spend. I was living the high life.
Needless to say budgeting wasn’t high on my priorities. I thought that the word budgeting was just deciding if you were going to buy two pairs of shoes or one pair of shoes and a dress. Just incase any readers’ get confused – this is most certainly not how it works.
I am grateful to my parents for making my first year of university stress free. Now however, I know that the decision is between a new pair of shoes and food. A woman cannot live on shoes alone, so I have learnt how to budget properly.
There are many reasons why you may want to budget as a student. They will vary on where you live, if you pay bills, how often you go out and if you are in receipt of student allowances.
The main reasons for budgeting your student finances include:
- To avoid paying rent or bills late
- To have enough money to socialise with friends
- To buy books and stationery
- To save for a holiday
- For petrol or transport costs
- Have funds set aside in case of an emergency
- To be less reliant on parents
- To reduce stress about money
When should I start budgeting?
The simplest answer is now. The sooner you start preparing your budget the sooner you will start reaping the rewards. If frugality is not one of your strong points: set a date that coincides with the beginning of something. For example:
- The start of the week or the month
- The start of a semester
- After a big purchase such as a laptop
- When you move into new accommodation
After deciding when you are going to implement budgeting you can start to prepare your plan. Preparing a detailed and realistic budget will mean that you are more likely to stick to it and not be tempted to overspend on unnecessary things, you can use our free budgeting tool to make your own budget.