Budget, budget, budget

A calculator, pen, and folders sit on top of a pile of papers.

Uni students have to navigate their finances, sometimes without much prior knowledge.

Some of us are thrown in the deep end to deal with money, without much guidance on financial literacy. So when I learnt to develop my own budget, I found it helped significantly.

Budgeting is all about anticipating and planning your expenses and income for a set period. For me, the month works since I get the same amount of pay per fortnight, but for others, fortnightly may work best.

The thing about budgeting is that we often think it means that we have to be incredibly frugal, in order to spend our allocated amount. But that does not have to be the case at all.

My approach to budgeting is to set long term and short term savings goals. Long term might be a new car or a holiday, whereas short term could be something as small as a new pair of Docs. Having something to work toward means that you feel there is a compelling reason to limit spending in certain areas of your life.

I think the other misconception that many of us have is that we have to be Excel geniuses and know how to use complicated functions in order to type it out in a spreadsheet. In a program that I love, EveryDollar, you can easily track when you spend money or earn money in a way that even the least tech-savvy people can decipher.

Finally, the best part of budgeting is that you can use it to keep track of where you bad habits may lie. For some, it might be hundreds of dollars on coffee, and for me, I realised that I kept spending money on lunch when I really could be bringing it in to work.

But of course, the most important thing about budgeting is to not be too hard on yourself! It might seem like it was a failure if you spent more on fuel or groceries than you liked, but any tiny saving is bringing you closer to your goals.

If you are interested in creating a budget for your spending, there are many great resources online, on blogs and Youtube.

Tagged in What messes with your head, finance