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Reflection on my budgeting skills throughout university and advice I would give to students

4 December 2020

Budgeting is a key part of student life. I believe budget skills are important to learn about as a student and you’ll then be able to take these skills forward as you graduate and get a full time job. 

In my first year, I definitely had the least knowledge about budgeting. I struggled to budget and I also didn’t know the tips that you gather with experience of being a student, some of which I will cover in this blog. In my first year, I used to have the same meals a lot, I think this is definitely something I learned to change in my first year. Collecting a variety of meal ideas allows for change in the meals you have and also allows you to budget more. 


In my second year, I definitely learned more about budgeting. I had a washing machine in the house, which was such an amazing feeling after paying for washing in my first year. We could also walk to a Lidl which makes it easier to budget, in my first year we had a Sainsbury’s which was more expensive. I watched my bank account more in my second year and would only buy items if they were ‘necessary’. 


I am now in my third year, although only being in my first semester, I have learnt such a lot about budgeting. I have gained so many more meal ideas this semester and will make more meals that use food like pasta and potatoes that are cheap to buy. I have also cut out a lot of meat in my diet which has helped my food bill to be cheaper. When using sachets like fajita mixes or curry sachets I use half a sachet for one meal and half a sachet for another. In addition to this, I also freeze meals if I have leftover dinner which can be frozen.  

A banking tip I have is, if you are with Nationwide they do E-savers which are little files on your online banking, You can name the files and then transfer money from your normal account to your E-Savers. You can then transfer money out of the files when appropriate. I have found this really useful as a student, to help me to save up. 

Spreadsheets and tables are your best friend when it comes to budgeting! Creating spreadsheets and tables can really help to budget. Save the student has a home budget worksheet that is already created for you! https://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-budgeting/student-budget-calculators.html You can also buy budget sheet pads, Wilko’s normally sell these when bringing out back to school stationery before September. https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/stationery-craft/notebooks-pads-organisers/diaries-planners-organisers/c/953 

Mobile phone apps are another way of keeping track of your outcome and income. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-budgeting-planner/ – This link gives you lots of budgeting app ideas. From my experience, a lot of students find budgeting apps helpful and easy to access. 

I hope this blog has been useful! If you have any questions about Cardiff or Cardiff University, please feel free to message me using the UniBuddy service. 


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