Money management is an important skill for navigating adult life, from understanding how to apply for a student loan to understanding rental deposits, mortgages, and interest rates. The good news is – managing finances is a learned skill. We spoke with our Money & Housing team to gain some insights into how the mind works when it comes to money and how to turn this knowledge into handy saving hacks.
By Elsa Tatam. Published 10 November 2023.
Make a budget plan
A representative from our Money & Housing Team advised: “The best way to feel more in control of your money – and therefore improve your mental health and wellbeing – is to draw up a budget listing your income and expenditure.”
While many university students do not have a salaried income, it’s still helpful to have a budget plan. The priority is putting enough aside from your student loan or other funds to ensure you can cover the essentials. Additionally, it’s important to create realistic goals and identify any notable patterns, such as where you overspend and can feasibly cut down.
Build an emergency fund
If possible, put some money aside in your budget plan for an emergency fund. You can also add to this if you have a particularly good month and spend less than usual. Having an emergency fund is helpful for any unexpected costs such as car problems, home repairs and so forth. An emergency fund can help to relieve the pressure, should such costs occur, meaning you can still pay for your essentials and cover any unforeseen circumstances.
Allow yourself a treat
Managing our financial life requires us to be disciplined, or self-regulating. This may mean holding back on engaging in enjoyable activities. So, when we achieve our financial milestones and reflect on our success, rewarding ourselves may spur us to maintain our effort towards this self-regulated saving activity. In this spirit, treating yourself to a nice snack, meeting up with a friend, or whatever most inspires you could be useful ways to recognise your success. It is helpful to obtain a balance of discipline and leisure, to reduce the chance of tasks becoming too overwhelming and draining.
Adapt your budget plan according to your circumstances and do not be hard on yourself if things do not go exactly to plan sometimes. One way to prevent feeling disappointed is to adjust your budget for months/weeks where you expect to have more outgoings. Remaining agile and open-minded will help you to meet your goals and not to let small setbacks reduce your confidence. Another way to remain agile and prepared is keeping all of your financial documents and budget plan all in one place so you can look ahead and plan for any adjustments.
Build financial management into your daily schedule
It’s helpful to have various saving strategies so you are not depending on only one strategy. Mind UK advises that building money tasks into your daily schedule is effective in developing better overall financial habits. For example, having a set day for paying bills if this is not done via direct debit. Or, you might choose a select time each day to check your balance so that you are aware of exactly what is going in/out. The main priority is to ensure you put enough aside to cover your main bills and other essentials such as food. It can be helpful to have a separate bank account for these expenses, so that you don’t accidentally overspend and end up in your overdraft.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used in place of official financial advice. Please use any of the resources below, or if you have financial concerns whilst at University, get in touch with our friendly Money & Housing Advice team at [email protected] who will be able to support you further.
Additional resources for financial wellbeing: