Budgeting as a student can be slightly more tricky that budgeting when you have a full time income. Your income might be varied, and you might have lump sums paid into your account each term rather than a monthly salary.
That said, there is no better time to start learning about budgeting, and making this part of your day-to-day routine- it’s a great habit to take with you into full time employment and adulthood.
The 50 30 20 Method
The 50 30 20 budgeting method works on the basis that 50% of your income goes towards necessitates, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings.
This is a very simple method, and doesn’t require too much careful consideration. You could use this budgeting method if you want more flexibility in your budget, and do not want to be too tightly constrained by spending limits in certain areas of your life.
You could tweak these percentages a little based on what your income is- do you have a student loan? Do you parents give you money each month? Do you have a part time job alongside your studies?
There are so many variables that make it difficult to budget when you are a student. However by adjusting these percentages to suit your own needs and income, this could be a great budgeting rule to live by as a student.
The Zero Based Budget
The zero based budget takes a little more time to put together- you will need to track your expenses (via an app, Excel sheet, or pen and paper) before putting together your budget.
The reason for this, is that you need to know exactly what you are spending each month in order to put a realistic budget together for the following month. This makes you more likely to create an achievable budget that you have a good chance of sticking to.
The basis of a zero based budget is that you are working towards being left with ‘zero’ at the end of the month. In other words, all of your money should have been allocated to a category (including savings).
Excel Based Tracking
Tracking your expenses and maintaining a budget in Excel is a great habit to get into whilst you are a student at university.
You can also use google sheets to track your budget- and download the google sheets app to update your budget on the go. No excuses not to update your budget when it lives in your phone!
App Based Tracking
There are a multitude of money saving apps which you can use to help you budget whilst you are at university.
A brilliant option is Monzo– if you don’t already have Monzo, you’re missing out. It’s super easy to exchange money with friends, set a budget and track your spending.
Monzo will alert you whenever you have made a transaction, and will also let you know when you’ve spent your allocated budget for a certain category that month, AND when it looks like you might go over budget.