It's quickly approaching the start of the semester at university and within the next week or two everybody who is living in halls will have moved in, and those of you who are living in shared accommodation with friends will also be moving in if you haven't already. If you are a first year student this post is something I wish I would have had during my time in first year, if you are a second or third year this post will still hopefully give you an insight into budgeting. First things first I thought I'd share my biggest insight into budgeting and saving that I have recently come across. Keep track of your money by writing down what you are spending. Many people will try to estimate how much they are spending during the month by adding up how much they think they are spending in their head. But in actual fact many people are spending a lot more than they think as they are forgetting things they have spent their money on. I would forever spend, spend and spend more and then when it came down to checking my bank balance, I’d be SHOCKED that I had zero funds left despite thinking I would have a couple hundred. Oops

Shepherds Friendly Society has created a university student budget planner which is printable and perfect to stick to your noticeboard or pop in your notebook. The planner includes 4 easy to break down columns where you include what you have coming into your account and what you have going out as well as how much you are really spending. The key with this is to be honest,; there is no point in lying to yourself about what you are spending, if you spend £100 on nights out a week you need to write it down. For the first few months it is worth checking out your spending habits and seeing if they are long term or just one offs and then working out what needs to change if you are going over budget. If you have money left at the end of the month you are doing amazingly! But if you are anything like me, you go over every month. There a few options with this, first being you can get a part time job on the weekends, this helps to supplement your student finance and give you something to enjoy yourself on, or the option is to just cut down what you are spending all altogether. It is hard but it needs to be done. From student to student it is often a good idea to set up a student interest free overdraft, and this is not so you can go mental with your money, more to make sure when you have an unexpected bill that you have the means to pay. I would never recommend using it unless you have to and if you have other options to use those first.  The good thing about having an overdraft means you are able to go into it without worrying about fees and most people are able to pay it off really quickly whether that is with a student loan/grant or a part time job.

Another tip I would recommend is to earn as much money as you can before university an then when you go you are able to have something to live off during your first term as mot people go a little money crazy with their first loan, of course most people haven't ever seen that much money in their bank so it is overwhelming. It is important to remember it is for 3 months and not a week or two. There is also the option of saving up a lump sum before you go to university by opening a stocks and shares ISA.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you want to read more student related articles I have my own student blog which you can check out here.

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