Money is a topic of conversation that is often seen as taboo. Not many people feel comfortable openly discussing their finances or what their weekly budget is, however, as students, opening up a discussion about money and budgeting is something that many can benefit from. So, here are Georgia and Oliver’s perspectives on budgeting and tips to help you make your money last.
Money – they say it makes the world go round – and at university, there are so many considerations you have to make which impacts your relationship with it. As an undergraduate, it’s meant to be the point in your life when you juggle work with socialising, fending for yourself and trying to work out what the heck bills are.
The majority of my money outgoings (excluding bills) is, naturally, food. It is vital to keep as healthy as you can at university, but it is sometimes disconcerting to see ‘healthy’ food being drastically more expensive than less healthy alternatives. Another tripping point can be ‘top-up’ shops, where you inevitably spend more than you expected as your eyes are drawn across the wonders of the supermarket shelves. So, what I try and stick to is a simple shopping list – this doesn’t require effort, and it focusses your attention on the items you actually need. Likewise, I pride myself in looking after my financial health, but I have become a little obsessed with it ever since starting university.
What I do is track my daily expenditures, which isn’t easy and is a rather time-consuming activity. In fact, I have gone as far as to creating a spreadsheet, which is certainly an effective approach.
What I want to emphasise, however, is that it isn’t healthy to stress over the small change, as this method can often have the opposite effect, and make you worry about your finances even more than necessary. It is much better to focus on whether or not you feel comfortable spending your money –and budgeting is hugely helpful.
Yes, it’s an important aspect of my life, but I try to let money control it and finding the balance of budgeting against grabbing opportunities by the horns is something which takes practice, discipline and a little thought. I urge everybody to take the time every once in a while to consider their own finances, but use their situation as a guide and not necessarily a rule to getting by at university.
There are two types of students: those who use Monzo religiously, and those who have a friend who uses Monzo but doesn’t use it themselves. I’m here to convert the latter group. Monzo is “a bank that makes life easier, not harder” and they achieve this by operating exclusively from its easy to use app. It displays your transactions immediately and simply shows the name and logo of the company, so no more guessing where that mystery transaction came from.
The best thing about Monzo in terms of budgeting is being able to split your money into what they call ‘pots’, which are sub-sections of your current account. I have a £50 weekly budget, so when I get paid from my loan, bursary or wages, I split it into multiple £50 pots to last until I next get paid with the rest being put into a savings pot. You can also turn on the ‘Round-Ups’ feature, which will round up all of your transactions to the nearest pound, and put the spare change into your savings pot. Magic.
Another effective feature is being able to check exactly how much you’ve spent at a certain shop or service over a period of time. For example, Monzo kindly tells me I have spent £541 on Uber over the past year… It’s useful to have that information available if you’re looking at where you can cut costs, even if it does make you feel a little sick.
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to track your spending and spread out your money to avoid spending it all at once, look no further than Monzo. It’s easy to make an account – just head over to monzo.com, all you need is a phone number and your ID, then you’ll have your lovely bright pink card in a matter of days. Happy budgeting!