It’s so important to know how to budget, it can be difficult to start when you genuinely don’t know what your expenditure is going to be like but here is an example of how I budget for day-to-day expenses.
I have found that having different bank accounts for different things has definitely helped me to manage my money, avoid over-spending and most importantly add to my savings. My 4 bank accounts (which I have just accumulated over time) are divided into:
- Personal spending and savings – For clothes & treats etc. This is also where I have my wages paid into and manage distributing them into other accounts from here.
- Car savings – Especially when I was still learning to drive this was so useful helping me to organise paying out my driving lesson fees, and then when I got my car I just realised how important it was to have the money aside for any car emergencies (like when my battery died).
- Student Loan – I had heard so many horror stories about students ‘accidentally’ spending their entire student loan within their first few weeks of uni so I decided to avoid that as a possibility all together by opening an account exclusively for my student finance to go into and a direct debit for my rent to come out of. I then never took any other money out and just left it to run itself. When applying for a student bank account make sure to check out some of the offers, for example, you could get a free 16-25 year old rail card!
- Shared Account – I now also have a shared account with my boyfriend for all of our shared expenses like food shopping or anything for home. We have also added a connected shared savings as well so that we can save for a holiday! We transfer a set amount of money from our wages into this account every month and top it up if necessary.
Fortunately now, having access to all of our bank accounts via apps it makes it a lot easier to track expenditure. However, it’s still worth having a little spreadsheet so you can clearly see where all your money is going! I would also recommend an app called ‘Spending Tracker’ which allows you to categorise each of your expenses and then shows you a statistical review of your months spending – for example, what percentage you spent on meals out or travel costs etc.
Adding to your savings is so important, however much you can afford, try to put a bit of money aside every month. What I tend to do is at the end of every month (or the day before I’m due to get paid) any money that is leftover goes straight into my savings and then I start fresh for the next month. It’s fine if you have to dip into your savings from time-to-time (that’s what it’s there for!) but the sooner you start saving the better! Once you get a good idea of how much you have leftover each month you can decide to set a fixed amount to put into savings.
Obviously sometimes it is necessary, but in my experience you are far better avoiding being in any more debt on top of you student loan. I tend to have the mindset of ‘if I can’t afford to pay for it outright, then I can’t afford it full stop’. However, if you do decide to use a credit card then make sure you set up a direct debit for the end of every month to make sure you don’t start getting charged any interest.
Creating a budget for expenses, whether weekly or monthly (and sticking to it!) will really help to manage your money. Once you have a good idea of your outgoing then you can create a structure to follow. For example:
Plan Ahead – When you know you have an expensive month ahead of you (i.e. the run up to Christmas or summer holidays) try to put some extra money aside the month before so it isn’t as much of a shock to the bank account.