I have done my fair share of being ridiculous/frivolous/thrifty as/savvy in ways you would not expect/spending money I don't have, and also my share of being a student, which are the only things that qualify me to write this post.
I am also going to write a post on How to budget at university because there's no point doing one without the other, really. That'll be up early next week!
Going to university, or indeed, moving out of your parents house at all, is a stressful time for many reasons. There are huge problems surrounding student fees, student loans and bursaries from various different funding bodies right now, and I don't envisage them being miraculously solved any time soon. That's a whole post for another day though - maybe I'll call it 'all of my issues with student finance and the NHS bursary system' - but it could go on some time.
All we can do, then, is make the money we get go as far as possible, while not freaking out 100% of the time about it.
I'll cover this more in next weeks post, but I want to say one thing about what I mean by 'budgeting' - I don't necessarily mean having a specific amount of money for specific things down to a daily tesco-shop-on-the-way-home allowance, so if that's not your style, don't stress. There are still loads of things you can do, but this is why you should do something:
It seriously reduces stress.
If you write down in front of you what you can actually afford, you will know that you DO have enough money for everything you need. You will still have some money left at the end of the month or the term, depending when you get a pay in, and so you won't have to repeatedly turn down every opportunity in that last week. I really feel that splitting your expenses does help, and stops you just spending whatever is left in your bank account.
Your freedom increases.
Again, more on this in the other post, but having a 'buffer' or a 'things I've forgotten about' section of your budget means that if there's an unexpected vital makeup item to buy, cocktail to be drunk, cricket game to watch, you can do it. You're not watching every single penny and you're not just spending everything because 'what's the point'.
You'll gain an idea of what you actually spend.
I didn't think I was a big coffee drinker until I wrote a budget, and spent almost double what I'd allocated for coffee. That's okay, and getting it wrong is good - it means you can decide whether to cut back elsewhere so that you can continue in your ways, or maybe cut back to spend what you feel you should be on that specific item.
You'll waste less
If you see something going off in the fridge and you see it as a part of your budget, you'll find a way to use it. If it's accounted for, rather than just a random broccoli in the drawer, you'll think of that green tree far more highly.
How have you budgeted at university? Has it worked? Let me know in the comments!
Image - https://www.flickr.com/photos/141735806@N08/