5 Steps To Better Budgeting

January 19, 2022

One of the most important things you need to do as a student is manage your money well. It’s very common (we have all been there!) to drain out your bank account early in a term and be left scraping at leftovers until the next student loan comes in or you find a job. That is why we have put together this blog to help you budget better in 2022.

1. Calculating your budget 

Calculating and understanding your budget is the first, most essential and often the easiest part of budgeting. The first thing you need to do is calculate your income throughout a term, including all sources of revenue, this might include:

  • Maintenance loans
  • Grants
  • Part time work
  • Money from family

Then you need to do the same with your essential expenditures, things like:

  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Rent / Bills
  • Course resources

Now all you need to do is add up your income for a term and minus the sum of your essential expenditures.  Then divide this result by the number of weeks in a term to find out your disposable income - i.e the money you can spend on non-essential items / activities or save.


2. Budgeting Apps

Nowadays it’s so much easier to save your money with the help of modern technology. There are some apps that help you analyse and review your spending and others that even go the extra step and begin saving for you!


Money Dashboard

Money Dashboard is an app that connects to 40+ banks to help you track your spending. It gives you an overview of all your accounts in one place. The app can also track your subscriptions, and categorise your purchases for easier reviewing.

Snoop

Snoop helps you save money by tracking your expenses and suggesting cheaper alternatives. For example, you have a phone bill that you’re paying £40 a month for and you spend £50 a month on Tesco shopping. Snoop will then suggest other phone network providers with cheaper deals on the same phone and inform you of discounts applicable at Tesco.

Plum

Plum links to your account through open-banking and uses an AI assistant to monitor and analyse your spending. It then determines how much you could be saving each day and automatically sends it to a saving account for you. 


3. Saving rules

A huge part of budgeting properly is cutting down non-essential spending and limiting luxuries to make them more affordable. A good way to determine just how much of the spending needs to stop is by using the 20/30/50 rule.

The 20/30/50 rule is when you immediately put 20% of your earnings away as savings, then you dedicate 50% to your essential spending and the last 30% goes towards everything else. This leaves you with a more realistic budget and helps you avoid any stress about late bill payments or not having the food in the fridge. 


4. Banking Apps

Some banking apps can also help with budgeting and monitoring your spending. Outside of the obvious generic bank statements, some banks also split your spending into categories for review. Some send you notifications when you make a purchase so you know if your card is being used and some even allow you to block yourself from spending on certain things! Here’s a list of highly recommended banks that boast all of the features listed above:


5. Investing Apps

Finally, sometimes the smartest thing to do with any savings is invest! Don’t let it sit around in a bank’s savings account - begin investing in different avenues to grow your wealth. Usually traders suggest that you never invest more than 10% of your total capital. Using the 20/30/50 rule we have decided to put aside 20%. This means it’s safe to say you can put half of that into investments and keep the other half in your savings account as a plan B. Here are a few apps you can use to learn about the basics and begin investing from scratch:


  • EToro - A trading platform where beginners can copy the investment patterns of experienced investors.
  • Invstr - An app where you can learn from a community of investors and get practice investing before using real money.

  • WealthBase - A fun social trading environment with interactive games and a stock simulator.
  • Acorns -  A platform which invests spare change when purchasing by rounding up to the nearest pound. Acorn invests for you so no need to sweat the complicated stuff.
  • Stockpile - A site / app that allows you to buy fractional shares of companies - the best way to invest small amounts of money.