Learning to live on a budget can be quite difficult, especially when you’ve never done it before. I personally struggled to reign in my spending when I finally saw my maintenance loan first arrive in my bank account, so I’m going to tell you 5 of my tips and tricks that will help you save and budget your money.
The best thing to do at first is to work out how much money you can spend per week. I did this by dividing my total amount of money by the number of weeks I had to wait before I get paid again. If you find yourself overspending a lot it might be useful to open a savings account where you can keep the majority of your money, that way you can move your weekly amount into your main account at the beginning of every week. If you still find yourself sneakily moving money into your main account (I know I have) you could try taking your weekly funds out as cash, just make sure you keep it in a safe place and not to carry all of it around with you.
2. Shop Cheap
It’s no secret that certain shops are a lot cheaper than others and it’s important that you decide where you want to spend your money, I’ve found that Lidl has the cheapest prices (15 eggs for less than £2? Yes please) so I tend to shop there. A trick that I always follow is to check the price tag on the aisles where I specifically check the cost per gram of every item, you’ll often find that you get more product for your money when you spend a little extra, saving you money in the long run. It’s also beneficial to buy off brand products as they’re usually cheaper for an almost identical product.
3. Plan Meals
Food waste can become a massive drain on your funds so it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time. I do this by writing down what I plan to eat on a day to day basis, keeping the food that I already have in my cupboards in mind, and then do one big shop at the beginning of the week. This saves time as well as preventing me from buying things I don’t need later in the week. If you still find yourself wasting food a lot it might be beneficial to buy longer lasting products (maybe canned foods, noodles etc) or freezing things that are about to go off, you’d be surprised at the number of things you can freeze, bread being one of them.
4. Question Everything
This isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. Once you have money it can be very difficult to control impulse buys, I always find myself desperately wanting to buy something that I don’t really need so I think it’s important to question every leisurely purchase I make. It’s a case of asking yourself “do I really need that?” because a lot of the time, the answer is tragically no. However, if you have a little money left over it’s perfectly acceptable to treat yourself once in a while, just keep your budget in mind.
5. Track Purchases
One way to keep on top of your purchases is to keep track of them, I keep a list where I write down the date, what I bought and the amount of money I spend on it and let me tell you, that occasional meal deal really adds up. It can be interesting to figure out what you actually spend the most money on as it gives you the opportunity to cut back on certain things. For example, you might find that the amount you spend on clothes (me) is unnecessary so you might try thrifting or cutting back completely.
These are my 5 tips for learning how to budget, I hope that they can help you save some money and get more organised.