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How to Budget (For Students)

It's not what you want but it's what you need.

By N MPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
Top Story - October 2017

If you're like me, a student who has a loan to get through the long months of dwindling torture, you would probably benefit from this article.

Now to start off I do not need to pay rent as I am fortunate enough to live with my parents during my studies. I will try to accommodate for those who do pay rent.

Quarterly Splittings

Calculate how much of a loan you receive a month and split it four ways. So say you receive £600 per month, it would be split into £150 per week. Now calculate how much food would cost and since you're living on a budget the best place to go for food would be Aldi in my opinion. Their food is good quality and affordable. You would possibly only spend on average around £30 - £40 a week if you're strict about things. This is a simple technique but it also allows you to save money. Create a list on what you need to be organized. Don't impulse buy with the things you want, get the things you need.

Be strict with yourself.

So, this means no going out partying every weekend and then realizing you have no food. If you are desperate to have fun with your friends, how about trying to have a house party where everyone brings their own drinks? It's cheaper and easier to get everyone together. Or if you are wanting to go out instead of being in the house, you can plan to have a monthly outing. That way you can still have money for food, etc. So before your next payment if you have any money left go out and have fun! This also includes staying home for dinner instead of going out.

Another way to be strict is to make your lunch at home instead of buying it everyday. What I do is make all my lunches for the week on a Sunday, this way I am not stressing when I come home. I also cook my dinner for the week on Sunday also, decreasing my stress levels and giving me more time to focus on my studies.

Explore charity shops.

OK, I know not many people would think to go into a charity shop for clothes, but hear me out. When you are living on a budget, it's difficult to buy the newest clothes, and since I am a shopaholic, I can't help myself.

But the best way I have found to get what I need is to visit charity shops (or thrift stores). I mean, for example, I went yesterday and found good quality clothes that hadn't been worn yet and most of them were for only 99p. You can also find books, binders, bags, home furnishings, and many more things for a discounted price, and even better it's going to a good cause.

University Library

I could not stress the importance of the library. You don't even need to pay to get these books and instead of buying your own books you can borrow them. Some libraries even offer secondhand books which are significantly cheaper than fresh new ones. Yes, they may be tattered and worn, but does that really matter when all the information you need is in there? No, because at the end of the day a fresh new book which you spent a lot of money on isn't going to matter in four to six years when you graduate.


This is more aimed at the ones living in residence but I still save too even though I live at home. From the previous statements, try and save your remaining money each month for the winter months. I know this sounds weird but when it comes to winter and you are freezing cold, covered head to toe in three sets of jumpers and blankets, you'll think, "why didn't I do this before?" Saving up for winter not only allows you to spend a little more for the heat but also gives you a goal. Try and see how much you can save and trust me, you will be happy with yourself. You'll be able to have the heating on, have warm hot meals, and be comfortable.

In contradictory to the previous statement, during the hotter months try not having heating on at all, that way you will be saving on bills, too. Even if it is a little chilly in the warmer months, you can always put on a jumper, but the winter is completely different.

Saving your money throughout the year can also benefit the holidays. If you haven't found a job in the summer holidays, then at least you have some money to fall back on.

I will give you an example: I saved money by following these steps and managed to buy a car and a piano. I know they're probably not necessities in your eyes but I needed a car for personal reasons and my course requires me to have a piano.

Calculate Ingoings and Outgoings

Right, this is where math is involved. I don't like math, but it's helpful for those living on their own. What you'll need to do is calculate how much rent and bills are and then divide up the remaining money into the four weeks. So, if you have say £800 per month and rent and bills are £400 per month, then the remaining £400 would split into £100 per week. It could be hard, but you have to be strict with yourself.

Part-Time Work

This is not a necessity but if you are struggling for cash, then getting a part-time job will help. Be warned about waitressing/waiter jobs, bar work, and other jobs that require you running around after people. These jobs can be unreliable and not worth the amount of effort put in. You will be exhausted and won't have enough focus and/or time for your studies. I know, I've been a waitress and let me tell you, as fulfilling the job can be, sometimes it's not worth the exhaustion.

So, I hope this has helped students out there or even people who are struggling with budgeting. You can do it and remember:

It's not what you want, but it's what you need.

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