Eeeeek. Money. Budgeting. Bleugh.
(From a student’s perspective)
Budgeting at uni is not fun. Budgeting in general is not fun, but when you’re a student and can’t have a full time job it becomes imperative that you become good at managing where your money is going. It can be as simple as downloading an app, as long as you know where all your money is going, and you feel comfortable with your bank account then you don’t need to stress an excessive amount.
Right now I have three jobs, and a student loan. So the money coming into my account fortnightly feels like a lot, for like the whole three ass seconds that it’s in my account before I start moving it around. Some of it goes into savings, most goes into paying rent, and whatever is left over is usually spent on things like printing or buying books. Staying on top of where everything is going can be stressful, I use an excel sheet to manage all my payments, separated by week. So for example every second week I have to pay rent, every third week I pay money into savings, the first week of every month I have to make the gym payment. That way you can record your big payments, it’s also a good way of keeping up with payments. I cannot tell you how many times in the first few months of the year I completely forgot to pay rent and Angie had to text me a reminder. However it’s often important to focus on where all the little payments are going too.
This is where a budgeting app comes in. I use the ‘money manager: expense tracker’ app, for the sole reason that I liked the cute icon of the piggy bank in the logo. Most budgeting apps are the same, they all track your expenses, most put it into some sort of graph or pie chart and that way after a few months you can start to put together enough data to realise that you don’t need to go to pita pit three times a week (oops!). Once you can see where all your money is going, and have organised your larger payments (rent, gym, savings) you can start to work up a budget.
Your budget can literally just be written down on a piece of paper and taped to the back of your door so you don’t forget. It is sometimes easier to put it on an app in your phone, or an excel spreadsheet. It really doesn’t matter where you put it, rather that you make one and stick to it. That means if you only budgeted for $20 of food money and that uber eats delivery charge brings your order up to $25 then you are out of luck my friend. You gotta walk all the way down to maccas on Queen street and get them chicken nuggets yourself.
It’s very important to realise that there are a few super good ways of saving money aside from extreme budgeting as well. Often there will be apps or promos (like the niesh app) that allow you to get half price on something like gong cha. There is a MacDonald’s app for free that has a whole bunch of really cool deals that might score you an extra cheeseburger or a free big mac. Loyalty cards for supermarkets like Countdown and New world are must have’s. I cannot tell you how many times I would think I’d gotten really lucky with an awesome sale item at the supermarket, and then arrived at the checkout and they’re like ”sorry this deal is actually just for our club card members”, at which point I ended up looking pretty stupid and missing out on half price ramen lol. Student card’s are usually a rip off, you have to be pretty diligent using them and often they won’t have deals that you’re likely to use. I mean there’s only so many times you can go to sea world in mission bay for free right?
Lastly, check out any scholarships you could be eligible for, always go to town on a Wednesday cause it’s free entry and occasionally you get free drinks if you come dressed in the theme of the night, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling a little bit. The university has student advisers who are here to help, and if you’re in student accommodation your RA is trained to help you with this sort of stuff, not only that but the residences often throw events to help students learn to budget! So, good luck:)