It doesn’t matter if you are a student and you are working or your parents are still taking care of your expenses. A budget plan is a necessity, when you want to meet your financial goals.
However, lots of people are too scared to start planning, because it looks way too complicated and time-consuming. Without budgeting you are going to be even more confused at the end of the month, you won’t have any idea where all of your money go and why you can’t afford to treat yourself with that new handbag, that is on your wish list for ages.
First things first – write down all of your incomes and all of your regular expenses, even the smallest ones. Sit down, think about it and try not to miss anything. Then you can put them into different categories. There are lots of printable budget planners online, but some of them offer dozens of sections to fill, which sometimes can get very confusing and leave you wondering what category to choose for a bottle of shampoo. That’s why I am suggesting you to pick only 5 or 6 categories – housing (rent, electricity, gas, water, insurance, etc.), consumables (groceries, restaurants, household expenses, clothes and shoes), living expenses (personal care, fuel for your car, gym membership, etc.), debt (student loans, credit card, etc.). Don’t forget to add a section for “savings” and save up at least 15% of your income each month. If you have a problem saving money, you can leave a separate page only for this. Write down what is your goal and why you are doing this (ex.: going on a trip with my best friends), all of the things, that you don’t need, but tend to spend on, so you can avoid them and some tips, which help you save money (ex.: stock the freezer, do diy projects, etc.).
Don’t spend money on things that you don’t need, only to keep up with somebody or just because of the idea of having something. Prioritise your spendings and see which of them you can reduce. One tip we have for you, when it comes to buying new things like clothes, bags, shoes, etc., is to take a picture of the item and look at it after 30 days. If you still want it badly and you are not wondering if you should buy it or not, then get it. Otherwise you can save the money for something that you need or want for sure. We know that being a student and seeing other people your age having some things that you want, but can’t afford, might be discouraging and tempting, but you have to think about your own financial plan, not theirs. Think rational.
Also don’t buy the first thing you see and like. Do your research first. Some websites and stores sell really overpriced stuff, while others keep their prices as close to the retail price as possible. Apps like “Honey” and “Shoptagr” are very helpful, when it comes to comparing prices. You can make wish lists on there and every time one of your favourite items goes on sale, you will get a notification. Even if you don’t have the money right now to buy something, when you do, you will know exactly where to get it from and you are not spending more than you have to.
Trust us, when we see, that these tips will literally save your life and your bank account. Most importantly, at the end of the month, we guarantee, that you will have some money left and you can rush into your favourite store and buy the first thing on your wish list.
Written by Anna-Maria Kancheva