Fridays with Edie: What to do when you’re spending too much money
Do as I say, not as I do
“I am spending too much money and I need to stop. How do I make sure I am not broke by Christmas?”
It’s one of the many things that come as a shock when moving out of home and into halls. Having to juggle work, a social life and your bank balance is the quintessential student problem. The pressure to be able to stretch your (insufficient) student loan far enough that you didn’t resort to eating beans on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner is real. Yet waking up and realising you’ve spend an obscene amount of money on Venoms at TP is all too familiar…
When budgeting, it’s important to plan ahead. I know finding a structured schedule at uni is difficult, but it can help to budget your events that week. As you get used to the way your weeks are laid out, it can help you work out a rough budget for that week. If there’s a big expense coming up, make sure you know this and make enough room for it in that week’s spending. It might mean sacrificing your daily Pret lunches for a £2 meal, but being wise about your spending is the most important part of budgeting. Planning ahead means nothing if you’re going to throw that homemade chickpea and lentil curry in the bin in exchange for a toastie from Pret (although I can’t say I blame you).
There are loads of helpful resources out there to help students. Apps, excel spreadsheets and even wall planners can all contribute to a bank account that isn’t crying out for help as you continue to buy yourself a little treat because you “deserve it” – after sitting down in the library for half an hour. Using a budgeting app on your phone is very useful as it can send you notifications reminding you to add that day’s expenses and can even link up to your banking app.
All of this doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every once in a while. Go get that overpriced sugary coffee – you’ve earned it! Being sensible about your finances doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. If anything it means you will have enough money to drunkenly offer to buy multiple people a McDonalds at midnight after a long night at the Vic. All I ask is that you remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Would like to conclude this by saying I follow none of the rules I set out above. I am extremely guilty of weekly “treat days” that by no means fit into my budget. But do as I say, and not as I do.
Hope this helps – lots of love, Edie x