For a lot of students who are living out their so-called best lives at uni there’s a very high tolerance for getting by and winging it. Your young and naturally healthy body can handle pretty much anything and everything thrown its way, from skipping meals to pulling all-nighters fuelled by energy drinks and coffee. I mean there are times when I look back in utter shock at how I managed to get through the month having overspent the previous month and essentially having to slum it up with a budget that’s well below the national minimum wage!
That brings to light the need to hone the very important skill of budgeting, particularly at this period in one’s life, simply because this is when some of the habits which you form tend to stick with you for a very long time to come, possibly even forever. More importantly though, this is the period in your life when the mistakes you make can pretty much be erased and you can start all over again the next month. I’ll tell you what – I’m sick of eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches with milk for dinner, but that’s about as nutritious and filling a meal as one can get when things are really tough financially and you have to keep feeding yourself.
Now when it comes to formulating good habits with regards to budgeting it’s all about making sure you never spend more than you have to spend. A simple trick I use is to allocate funds to every area of my life and if they’re depleted then I just have to make-do without entertaining that specific area of my life until I next get my allowance. I really go to town on it hey and literally put each of the allocated funds in different “accounts”.
I have my main bank account which is my primary account where my allowance comes in and then I have a collection of prepaid debit cards which I fund via their corresponding virtual bank accounts, including Skrill, Neteller, Virgin Money and a kind of workaround with Payoneer.
Speaking of Payoneer, this workaround exists insofar as one cannot really load money into their Payoneer account and use it as a bank account of sorts – you sort of have to earn that money, normally though online activity and you subsequently get paid into your Payoneer account. That’s exactly what I do – I do a bit of online freelancing via a platform called UpWork and yeah, this symbolises how one can replenish their budget by earning some extra money through doing some extra work.
Otherwise another factor which comes into play is that of how sometimes you have to borrow from one portion of the funds allocated to temporarily cover another area, otherwise strictly sticking to the funds allocation as they’re earmarked for a specific area will often leave you stranded. If I need transport money for example, I dip into the entertainment budget, knowing that I can always get some more money during the month with the completion of my little freelancing side-gigs…