Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder, and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.
Worrying about your financial situation, experiencing debt or money worries can make you feel hopeless and out of control, affecting how you think, feel and sleep. Taking charge of your money problems can help you feel better and more in control.
Knowing how to make the most of your money is an important life lesson and a valuable one for students when money can be tight and needs to stretch. Evaluating your expenses might not be at the top of your to-do list, but invest some time in your financial future now and you’ll profit from it later.
Here are six steps to help you create your very own student budget.
Pull out your student finance letters and work out how much money you have available for the term. This should include your student loan, any bursaries or scholarships, and all other income you will be receiving during the term.
Calculate how much you need to spend on essential costs that you can’t avoid, such as accommodation fees and bills, and deduct this from your available money. Make sure to put this aside and don’t spend it before it’s needed.
Once all your essential costs have been accounted for, you should have a clearer idea of how much you have left to spend on other living costs. Divide your remaining amount by how many weeks there are in the term to get a weekly allowance.
Work out how much you will need to spend on living costs each week, for example on food, and deduct this from your weekly allowance. Try not to forget the little extras such as laundry, toiletries, gym memberships, TV subscriptions and travel costs.
Living on a student budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – in fact the more you stick to your budget, the more fun you can afford! With the remaining amount, give yourself a weekly spending limit for social activities such as nights out and the occasional takeaway.
Get in the habit of writing down your spending (even if it’s just on a note on your phone or an Excel sheet) to help you to stay on track. Use online banking to check your bank balance often and keep tabs on how much you are spending to make sure you don’t overspend. Review your budget regularly and don’t be afraid to change it if it’s not working for you.