Creating a budget and managing social spending

When moving to university Abena’s main focus was making friends, which involved a lot of social activities and spending. She discusses how creating and utilising a budget, alongside planning social activities in advance, helped her to manage her finances.

Abena talks through her experience of managing her finances in her first year including creating and utilising a budget.

Video transcript

Hi. I'm Abena, and I'm going to be talking you through my experience of managing finance in my first year of the university and what methods worked best for me. I'll also be speaking about how this affected my social life at uni. Before we start, I just want to add, if you're struggling remember it's okay to get support with budgeting and it's a good idea to get advice early on if you're struggling with debt.

Moving to university is a daunting experience for most people. For many of us, this is the first time living away from home. And with that comes responsibility in managing our own money. When I first moved to university, my main focus was making friends, as a lot of us can resonate with. I did this by going out with my flatmates or people I met during freshers or people I met in lectures.

While going out with friends is a great way to build new bonds and gain new friendships ultimately it means that you're spending more money and it can be hard to keep track of how much you're spending. Because I started university in 2021, the year after Covid began, I felt like I had to make up on all the things I missed out on, even if I felt like I didn't want to go out.

I also felt like I had to say yes to all of the plans that my friends were making in order to not feel left out and to get to know my friends better. However, this meant that the money I had coming in was quickly running out and I wasn't spending it wisely. So I think it would be useful to share with you my methods of managing money wisely.

Budgeting can seem very boring and very long but actually it's very easy. There are lots of benefits to controlling and tracking your spending. I like to use Excel to do my budget as it does the calculations for me. I know at first Excel can seem very boring and a bit confusing, but after you've watched a few Youtube videos it should be very easy to understand.

But a simple pen, paper and calculator will do the exact same as Excel. So step number one for producing a budget is, you need to work out how much money you've got coming in, whether that's a weekly budget or a monthly budget. Personally, I like to use a weekly budget as it allows me to be a little bit more strict with my spending.

Step two, you need to figure out what you're going to have taken from this money. For example, your essentials, which is your food shop, the transport money or your laundry money. And then you will also have your non-essentials such as your clothes and your money for nights out. Step three, you need to divide your money into small subcategories like I said. You can have essentials and then your non-essentials, and then you need to make sure that it adds back up to the total amount, whether that is your weekly or your monthly budget.

However, once you've followed this budget for a week or so, you may realise that you've set some budgets too low or too high. For example, you may have set your food budget for £30 a week, whereas in reality you actually spend £40. So you'll just need to make these alterations and then again, make sure that it adds up to the total amount of your budget.

In terms of my social life, one of the ways to make sure that I don't feel like I'm missing out is to make social plans well in advance in order to make things such as tickets cheaper. You can do this by setting aside money so that you know, if you've got plans coming up, you know that you'll always have some money ready for that plan. This way I can plan for the days that I'd like to prioritise self-care, as it's very easy to get caught up in this "uni lifestyle" which is heavily portrayed on social media, making it even more important to prioritise your wellbeing at uni

as you know, the workload can often be very demanding. Also, you don't have to spend lots of money to have a good social life at uni. There are other ways to make it cheaper, such as buying club tickets in advance. Usually early-bird tickets can save you anything from £2 to £5 compared to when you purchase them at the door.

Joining societies is a great way of meeting new people. When I was in first year, I joined cheerleading and that was lots of fun. Like every week there would be new themes. You get to meet those people from different years, not just first year, which is a great way to build relationships with everyone. So I definitely recommend this to you.

There are hundreds of societies at every university, so without a doubt you'll definitely find something for you and I couldn't recommend this more. Since starting university being able to manage a budget has made me feel less anxious about my finances, and it's also allowed me to be more confident in my spending as I am in control and it's a lot easier to track.

I hope you've taken something from this video, whether it helps you in your university journey or it helps you with producing a budget or just helping you adjust to your new life university. Thanks for watching, guys. Bye.

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