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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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How To Budget Like A Boss When You’re Broke

By Emily Fox

Emily Fox blogs about the best ways to keep track of your money as a student and how you can make your money go further. During term-time, Emily is a full-time undergraduate student living in rented accommodation and has recently completed her placement year.

If you’re not as cool as a cucumber when it comes to your finances you’re not alone. The Money Advice Service reported that 39% of adults don’t feel confident managing their money. Whilst managing your finances can be complicated and stressful, it doesn’t have to be.

Budgeting and saving regularly does not have to be about limiting yourself, it’s about making the things you are excited about possible in your life. Both concepts are important to ensure you have greater financial security and can provide you with a fallback if something unexpected happens. To help get you started, here are five simple tips on how to budget effectively (even during a global pandemic).

Shop smart and bring a list to the supermarket

Aside from your rent, the cost of food is likely to be your number one expense and supermarkets are designed to make you spend more money. Offers and deals are placed near the entrances and checkouts to tempt you into impulse purchases (especially if you’re hungry!). Having a set list for the week will help you to stay focused and only pick the items you went in for in the first place.

If you time your trip right and try to go shopping in the evenings, this is when supermarkets are most likely to reduce their items. Often you can purchase food, such as bread for just a slice of the price! You can also buy ‘wonky veg’, which is reasonably priced –  the only difference is the vegetables are strange shapes.

Take your time and find the best deal

Whether it’s your car insurance or a new laptop, it’s always best to shop around for the best deal. Check out the offers available from the main providers both instore and online and compare these over the course of a few weeks. You could use price comparison sites, like Compare The Market and GoCompare, or review different websites to find the best option for you. It’s likely prices will slowly decrease over time and you may even be eligible for a discount off the full price as a student or through a loyalty card scheme.

Set yourself a weekly limit

Keep some cash in your purse or wallet for small pleasures, such as coffee or snacks, at the start of the week. Once the money has been spent, you will have to wait until the following week. This will help you to reduce unnecessary spending and ensure you have money for the essentials, from bus travel to bills. You could even plan a ‘no-spend’ day each week, where you rely on your own cooking and hot drinks in a reusable mug.

Consider working part-time

If you’re still in school, college or university, it may be wise to search and apply for a part-time job around your studies. Whether it’s a holiday or driving lessons, working part-time will help you to save for these big purchases. It will also help you learn the value of money, allowing you to save for the things you really want. If you struggle to save, it may be wise to get into the habit of putting away a small amount the day you’re paid. This way you’ll hardly notice the money leaving your account. After a few months, you’ll start to see your pennies adding up, which you can use for something important in the future.

Reward yourself for saving your money

Money left over after saving each month? Do not be afraid to treat yourself -doing so will show you the value of being frugal and may even motivate you to continue your good habits. You have worked hard for your money and whilst budgeting is important, it’s about finding a balance and having fun from time to time.

 

 

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.