6 Budgeting Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Starting university can be a pretty daunting process, with lots of new things to come to terms with. You’ve got the big things such as moving out for the first time and you know, starting a degree and the [seemingly] little things such as learning how to cook and how to budget. But these little things are crucial to your overall student experience so it’s important you get them right!

And besties, I get it, budgeting is HARD! But I do have some good little tricks up my sleeve which make this horrible task, a bit more bearable and, hopefully, manageable! Here’s some mistakes you may be making:

1. Not keeping track of your spending

I don’t know where I would be without the app ‘Notion’. I keep the entire contents of my brain within the little pages you can make. One page is purely for budgeting. I simply input my income for the month and work out where my money is going to go (subscriptions, travel, groceries etc). I can then plan ahead and make sure I don’t fall short by my next pay day.

2. Having NO budget plan

If you do have a part-time job alongside your studies, it is easier to budget around your pay day, do you get paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly? This will change how easy it is to divide your money and ensure you can survive off more than the classic student meal of pot noodles. Some online banking apps such as Monzo allow you to ‘Round Up’ purchases. Within a month I managed to save over £30 through rounding up my purchases throughout August. This gets put into a separate pot that I do not touch unless there is an emergency and had to spend money that was not planned for.

3. Completely winging your meals

BESTIES BATCH COOKING WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! I’m not claiming that I invented meal prep but most students I know don’t do it! Trust me on this, make yourself a big batch of chilli, curry, pie filling, soup you name it! And chuck it in your freezer in some reliable Tupperware and you are good to go! Space can be a challenge when you’re a student but I promise this will save you time, money and energy. Some meals can work out less than 10p per portion. Extra bonus points if you plan your meals out for the week ahead…

4. Having NO financial boundaries

It’s the classic story… you’re down the vestry… people want jaeger bombs… you offer to the buy them… and suddenly you’ve spent £20 that you don’t really have. Whilst people fall victim to this a lot (I know I do…), keep in mind where you’re spending your money and where it could be better spent. That £20 could have got you a shop for the two weeks ahead. I’m not suggesting you avoid fun times, but think twice before tapping your card. P.S. don’t be afraid to ask people for money they owe you, it can become a slippery slope (@IncredibleHQ on TikTok provide great advice for these difficult discussions).

5. Not making the most of student discount

I am telling you, take your student card and/or TOTUM card with you everywhere and screenshot your UNiDAY’s ID on your phone. So many places do student discount without advertising it – be bold! Ask! Save that £1.00 off your coffee and croissant!

6. Denying yourself things that make you happy

I love coffee. I don’t think I could go without a silly little drink from Costa when I am on campus. Whilst I really don’t want to think about how much I have spent on coffee over the past three years, I know that an oat milk latte is an easy way to pick me up during the day. Obvs, don’t go overboard and treat yourself to everything you want, as on student budget, it’s not realistic. Hopefully, using a budgeting tool such as Notion and practicing some of the above tips will allow you to have some fun spending money so you can live your best life as a student xox

Rylee Spooner, Advanced Applied Psychology Student

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Date published

05 Oct 2022

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