University is a massive step for anyone and the biggest problem for most students is blowing all their money in the first term and having nothing else for the rest of the year. The expenses would most probably include food, bills, rent, transport, and having fun. Especially when you have mobile payment options, there might not be a tab on how much you are spending! To be honest, even if such payment options have improved our accessibility to pay whenever, and however (you can read up on one such study of mobile payments to know more) – they might have also made us spend a little more than we would actually have liked to! I mean, it’s a human problem, technology has nothing to do with our obsession to spend! Nonetheless, there are many steps and approaches you can take to budgeting but this is just one way that I use to keep everything completely organized throughout the months/year.

Let’s start with bills and rent! If you are living at a college hostel, the rent usually gets paid at university termly in alignment with your student loan, which means you might not have to worry about rent every month. However, say your college is in Miami, for instance, and you are planning to live off-campus; you can look for affordable localities in the city or explore cheap miami studio apartments. So the most important thing to do every month will be to immediately transfer your rent to your landlord/estate agent to make sure you know how much is left for the rest of the month. Then you need to figure you how much you usually spend on bills and transfer this over to another account or savings account so that it is always available every month to pay the bills. I noticed at university that many people would panic when it came to bills because they would spend all their money, and then they would enter overdrafts and borrow money in order to not get in trouble with their housemates or the authorities. That is why it is extremely vital to move this money over. It is not spare money, it has a value, and that value is bills.

The next thing you have to face is food and this is a big one because many people who attend university are so used to their parents cooking for them that they either don’t realise the value of food or don’t bother cooking at all. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not cooking their own food and bulk making meals because this saves you so much money in the long run. So having a monthly and weekly budget will benefit you so much too. If you have 100 to spend on food in a month then you will need to ensure that you are only spending 25 a week on your food shop, so there really isn’t that much room for takeaways or readymade meals. You need to always think thrifty and then you will have money left over for a treat on a rainy day! One of the other options you have here is to look into discounts and coupons. Sites like exist to help out with deals coming up easily listed, so keep an eye on these platforms for extra help. Transport is one of the biggest things with university, unless you live in the main campus you will usually have to travel some way to get to classes. Therefore, your mode of transport is either walking, cycling, bus, or car, with most people often choosing the bus due to expense and convenience. In big cities people do not feel as comfortable riding a bike or walking so will often choose public transport for safety and comfort. So, if you are riding the bus or taking a taxi or driving you will need to think of the costs of a bus pass or petrol so that you can comfortably get to your lessons without having to worry that you won’t be able to afford it. Finally, and most importantly you have gone to university to get some fun and freedom! You can set the rest of your money that you have left over for going to the pub, nightclubs, and doing fun activities with all of your friends. There is nothing worse than being that one friend who blew all their money at the start of term and now cannot afford to hang out with everyone else, so make sure you are saving as much as you can so you can have fun! My advice would be to only take out 30 for a night out so that you are not overspending, set budgets for certain events and try your hardest to not go over the budget so you can enjoy yourself throughout the year and not just for one week. Bonus Tip 1 – Get yourself a budgeting debit card such as Monzo that you can move over money every month and it will tell you how much you are spending on food, shopping, bill, and everything else all separately so you can review whether you need to spend less on certain things. It was one of the greatest things I used, and I never went into my overdraft.

Bonus Tip 2 – After you have graduated you do not need to stress as much with your loan repayments as you think. If you use companies like SoFi then you can refinance your loan and repay in various installments depending on your income, so this could be paying in a larger gap and increasing or decreasing your payment. This will help you loads when you are starting your career!

So, the important things to remember is to move over money that is essential for the month such as bills and food and make sure that you have a suitable amount of money left over to have fun with your friends throughout the year. University is all about making memories, so budget you money and enjoy!