Budgeting is essential to keep spending under control and is the single most important money management skill.
Budgeting gives you an accurate picture of your money situation and makes it possible to make limited resources go a long way. It can also help identify areas where you are spending too much. It shows you (and your parents/partner/bank manager) that you are handling your money wisely. If you do not have enough money to cover your costs, you can receive advice.
Also if you are trying to be more prudent on your spending - follow Blackbullion's Periodic Table of Savings guide for very practical, easy-to-follow and fun money saving tips in helping to reduce your shopping, travel, holiday, entertainment, and student life costs!
How to budget
1) Download our Budget Planner or Forecaster, or if you need more guided support start with Blackbullion using your King’s email address.
New students can register before they enrol using the code NEWTOKINGs, you can update it with your King’s email address once you have enrolled which will allow you to access all of the activities and tools.
Prospective students considering King’s can set up a temporary registration using the code MONEYSMARTER with any other email account which will help you to prepare for coming to university.
2) Work out what's coming in
- Put in your monthly income
- Can you increase your income?
- Part-time work?
- Have you claimed all the funding available?
- Not sure? You may wish to discuss options with the Advice & Guidance Team, pop along to one of our drop-ins or contact us.
3) Work out what's going out
- Put in your monthly expenditure
Present: list your survival costs - the things you must pay: rent, household bills, utilities, food etc. With the remainder, consider what you want but do not need.
Past: do you have any priority debts to pay?
Future: plan for emergency or short-term costs (e.g. birthdays and holidays). Think about avoiding unnecessary credit whilst studying, so long-term expenses such as a car or a house become possible sooner.
- Review your bank statements and receipts to make sure you've included everything
- Can you cut down the costs?
- Deal with the easy saves first - make sure you're getting your full loan entitilement and travel discounts! Consider switching energy/ phone bills!
- Consider the "Saving Challenge":
- Still in the red? Look at some daily saves - do you really need the latte on the way to class? Bring a packed lunch to class and skip the meal deal! Check out the Demotivator to see how this adds up to big savings!
- If you're one for the impulse buy, stop and think - Do I need it? Sleep on it! Resist the sales - 40% off is still paying 60% more than nothing!
- If you're still struggling to make ends meet - come and chat to us!
4) Review and repeat every month!
There you go! It might seem a little tedious at first, but once you get into the habit of it, you will have one less thing to worry about!
Top 10 tips for budgeting
1. Make a budget – stick to it!
“Make a plan, execute the plan” right? Now we know that budgeting is not always fun, but thinking ahead and planning for your finances will help you not only get through, but also enjoy your time in university. Not to mention that it is a good habit to have for the future! For more information on how to do so visit the King’s Money Advice Budgeting page.
2. “Stuff I Forgot”
We’re all human – we forget things. Even the most careful of people might forget a thing or two or did not account for something unexpected. By having this category, you will be more prepared when an unexpected expense need to be taken.
3. Use Online Banking
Use the Online Banking tool. Better yet – use their app! This helps you keep track of your spending. A top tip would be to make sure to check every few days to your account because often at times card transactions take time to show up in your record.
4. Meal Planning
A take-out once or twice is never a problem if it is planned. Making a plan of what you will be eating for the week and budgeting for your groceries (don’t underestimate the power of a grocery list to deter you from those unwanted snacks) ensure that you are keeping track of your food money. It’s too tempting to grab a quick snack on your way back home every day – but those pennies add up! Try this the mySupermarket app to see which supermarkets have the best deals!
It’s not for everyone – but why not try sharing the cooking responsibilities amongst your flatmates? That way you can save money, get less tired of cooking, and learn to cook new dishes! You can also always have a “pot” that everyone contributes to for toilet roll, etc – saves you on the money and the drama!
6.Take advantage of all the student discounts!
As a student, you will get plenty of discounts! Plenty! So use them while you can! Get yourself an NUS Extra Card that provides discounts to certain store and don’t forget to always ask if there is a “student price” in all stores (even if they don’t outrightly promote it – who knows you can save up on that few pounds!). It’s also worth checking out on cashback and vouchers online!
7. The small things add up!
Do you really need that £3 latte every morning? Could you afford to get up a little earlier so you can walk instead of spending £1.50 for the bus every morning? The small things add up! Take the coffee for example, if we do the math – (£3 x 365 = £1095) you will be spending £1095 on JUST COFFEE a year! You could bring your own homemade coffee in a tumbler every day and save up to go on a 2-week holiday instead with that money! Take a look at your spending and find the small things you can cut down on.
8. Compare and Switch
There are many websites (e.g. MoneySavingExpert, MoneySuperMarket, etc.) that helps you compare different energy providers, mobile contracts, etc. so that you can obtain the best deal for you.
9. Say "no" to Pay Day Loans
Pay Day Loans might seem like an easy way out of a money issue – but you are just digging yourself a deeper hole. Interest rates are unbelievably high (it can go up to 2000%! (yes you’re not reading it wrongly)) Essentially, this just will just negatively impact your credit score in the future and put you in greater debt
10. Ask for help
So if you are starting to feel like your finances are spiralling out of control, it is never too early to ask for help! It can be really scary and difficult to admit that you need help but the earlier really is the better. Contact our student money advice service or come to our drop-in for confidential help.