1. With more banks building budgeting functions into their apps, keeping on top of your finances has never been easier. If your bank does not offer this yet, check out other spending tracker apps such as Money Dashboard, Bean, Emma, Mint and Pocket Guard. These help to track what you are spending and see exactly how much you have left.
2. There are hundreds of deals aimed at saving students money. Make sure you always remember to look for the best deals on whatever you buy. Promo code browser extensions such as Honey or Pouch make this even easier by finding relevant discount codes for you as you shop online.
3. Be aware of your outgoings before they come out of your account. Many repeating expenses such as your rent, your phone contract, Netflix etc. can be mapped into your budget at the start of the year. Then add up how much money you will have coming in, including your Maintenance Loan, your overdraft, any income from a job and help from you parents. Subtract your outgoings and you will know how much you have to spend on the fun things.
4. Just because you have budgeted a specific amount, does not mean you have to spend it all. If your food shop is less than expected this week, do not make up for it by ordering takeaways instead. Try saving a little here and there or putting it towards something special.
5. After this process, if you discover you have very little to live on each week, think about how you can slim down costs – for example a cheaper phone contract, buying second hand, or bulk cooking. While it may be tempting, exceeding your overdraft can only add to your expenses, so try to live of what you have. If this is impossible, be sure to contact your university for support as many offer bursaries to help struggling students.
Haynes Publishing’s Student Manual by James Thornhill is priced at £12.99 and is available from www.amazon.co.uk.