Because being told to budget REALLY isn’t that helpful or easy
Right, so I’m back with another non-photography related blog! I’ve been so busy with medical school assignments, 2 part time jobs and a youtube channel launch that this has taken a back seat. However, writing a blog about being ‘money smart’ has been on my mind for a while now.
If you know me really well then you might be wondering why on earth I think I have the authority or knowledge to advice people on this.
And you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that! But I feel like because I have been horrendously bad at dealing with my finances in the past, I have had to work ridiculously hard and done a lot of research to get my bank balance in a decent shape. I’m definitely not loaded by any stretch of the imagination though.
For many of us, no one ever went into detail about how to spend, save and budget money when growing up. Instead, at 18 years old, we were given a credit card, an overdraft, student loan and left to our own devices. When I left school, I had no idea about mortgages, interest or what a credit rating even was.
I have come up with a list of 9 things I have learned over the last 3 years at Uni using some INCREDIBLY embarrassing examples of where I went wrong in my finances, just to let you know that if I can change things around then anyone can. I’ve split this into two blogs because otherwise it would be far too long. Following these over time WILL actually let you see a difference in your bank balance.
- Check Your Bank Balance Regularly – This is my number one tip because although I can tell you all the stupid stuff I have spent money on and how to avoid certain pit falls, ultimately we all spend money on different things and knowing will help you budget successfully. It’s a bad habit of so many people to bury their head in the sand (something I did a lot) when they start to head ‘into the red’. That doesn’t change anything and stops you from getting on top of problems that may be resolved easier than you think. I check my account at the end of each week, just so I can adjust how I spend my money the next week.
‘Can’t be broke if you don’t check your overdraft’
- It’s The Little Things That Add Up. When I first started trying to budget I thought the logical thing to do was stop spending money on big things because they cost the most money, duh. I failed horrendously and that’s because usually the tiny things you spend money on add up to more than the big things. A daily coffee, lunch at the Uni café, a make up brush here, an uber trip there; before you know it £100 of your monthly budget is gone on things that won’t even last. Look back at you bank statement and total up the small things you bought over the last month, you may be surprised at the amount.
Trying to explain how I spent £85 on dominoes in one month to my parents
- Don’t Spend More Than You Get. So bear with me on this one because I know I said I would give realistic tips and for some this might seem really difficult and easier said than done. This is more a mentality I have had to adopt when dealing with money. If you keep this in mind when living your life, all the other things on this list will be a lot easier to follow. It seems logical that if you spend more that you get in, eventually you will end up in your overdraft (which actually is a form of debt). Changing how I looked at budgeting with this being key has been one of the hardest things to do but also had the biggest positive influence.
- Beware The Student Overdraft. Ok so this is a biggie for me. EMBARASSING STORY TIME: After my first semester of uni, so that’s 3 months, I was £1000 into my overdraft which actually had a limit of £750. Yes it was that bad. I had literally NO money to pay January’s rent and had no choice but to fess up to my parents who were NOT pleased. My dad made me print of my bank statement and read out all the things I spent money on and explain why. Although at the time I was upset and didn’t understand the need for this, looking back it was the point I really realised the importance of being wise with money. I mean yeah, £85 on dominoes in a month is not an easy sell. I had to work the entire summer not only to pay my dad back but get out of my overdraft. I realised that the overdraft isn’t just extra money I get to spend on every day stuff. Now if I have to use it, I make sure I know where and when the money will come in to pay it back.
Obviously most of these are from a British student perspective but I would love to hear advice from different people. Leave a comment below with your thoughts? Stay Tuned For Part II