how to budget

Updated: Sep 28, 2018

As you might already know, I am a University student living in England and I know how difficult budgeting is. It can be extremely difficult if you do not have a job or your student finance doesn’t cover all your needs, which is why I decided to share a couple of things that I do to help me with my weekly and monthly budgeting.

The first thing that I did when I came to University is that I did a spreadsheet that covered all my weekly finances from food and rent to laundry and gym membership. Once you write down your expenses, think how much you would spend on each per week. For example, since I live with my boyfriend and shop together, we decided to limit ourselves to £30 a week for food which would equal to £15 for each of us. To make sure we pay and have that money, we put £15 in a jar on a Monday morning and take the money when we need to go shopping. Whatever money we have left from that £30 at the end of the week, we put it back in the jar; the leftover money can later be used for a date night, a movie or a simple coffee in your nearest café!

Do your shopping in the right place! A bunch of people will shop at Tesco and Asda weekly not realising that you can get the same food in cheaper places such as LIDL or Aldi. (This is not sponsored in anyway). When we first moved here, we shopped at Tesco and could easily spend between £40 and £50 a week which is quite a lot for a weekly shopping. We then discovered LIDL (which is over a mile away from us) and saved so much money. This week we went for essentials for ten days including things like bread, milk, meat, vegetables and fruit and came out only paying £24! HOW CRAZY.

Plan your shopping ahead. I write a list of what I need to buy before I go shopping. This is helpful in many ways.

1. You will be obliged to buy only what’s on that piece of paper.

2. If you see something you want or like, make sure you can afford it.

3. In your head, you will know roughly how much this will cost you.

4. It will prevent you from buying expensive things that you do not really need.

Pasta is such an easy and cheap dish. You can make many amazing dinners such as spaghetti, pasta bake or lasagna and not spend more than £3.00 on that one single meal. Another thing I do is I buy meat in batches. I would buy chicken, beef and fish in one go and then freeze what I will not be using now. This means that once every two or three weeks my shopping will be more expensive due to the meat, but the next shopping should not be more than £20 since you already have the most expensive ingredient which in many cases is the meat.

Limit going out. I know this might sound like a dull idea but if instead of going out on a Friday night or not going to that restaurant on a Saturday you stayed in and had some friends over for a movie night, you would save quite a bit of money within a month.