Top Tips to Manage your Money
In heart of Imperial’s recent campaign for Student Money Week I thought I would add a few of my own tips that help me manage and budget my money effectively. The #FindTheBalance campaign run by the university gave some really helpful tips and advice from Student Finance Services and from current students. Here I have compiled some of the most helpful and achievable ideas in one place, so you can come back and reflect should you need to throughout the year.
Keep a Spending Log
It doesn’t have to be pretty and artsy like the ones you see people spend their life designing in bullet journals, but I find it really helps to make a note of everything you spend each week and calculate your weekly outgoings. And yes, I mean EVERYTHING! Once you keep track of what your spending you start to notice what you could cut out to save some money. For example, that morning coffee run on the way to a 9am may seem insignificant but it does add up. Maybe getting up 5 mins earlier and investing in a portable coffee cup could help you save in the long run; allowing you to make your own coffee to bring to lectures in the morning. Plus, lots of shops now give you a discount on your drink if you bring a reusable cup, so keep that travel mug in your bag.
Make a shopping list
If you’re one for going shopping without a list and picking random things of the shelves hoping you’ll be able to cook them throughout the week, I would advise a little bit more planning. Try thinking about a specific meal you will cook that week that could last a few days and then buy the ingredients for that meal and cook it up when you get home. By having an idea of what you need to buy you will spend less, and by having a meal prepared in your fridge/freezer you are less likely to feel the need to eat out.
Make the most of Student Discounts
There are so many apps out there for student discounts and coupons, as well as lots of stores now offering discounts if you show your student card. Download UNIDAYS and check out what shops/restaurants have discounts before you go out to buy some new clothes or go out for a meal. If you’re not sure, always ask at the till. The worst they can say is no!
Plan a Weekly Budget (and allow for little treats!)
Try to have a budget that you stick to each week, but within that budget allow a small sum of money for nights out, new clothes or a takeaway one night, if that’s what you enjoy. And if you under spend one week then add the extra onto the next week and you can treat yourself to something extra nice.
Overall, my top tips for budgeting success are; planning, logging and being realistic. Make sure you allow yourself some money to go out and have fun. And if you find yourself struggling with your finances, head to the Student Hub to find out how you can get some help. There’s no escaping the fact that university is expensive, especially in London, so make sure you take advantage of any help that you can get if you need it.