As a student I have to have a strict monthly budget. Something I am really passionate about is setting out my finances each month to ensure I don’t over spend and always have to take money out of my savings. This is the plan I use to ensure I can budget my month well and maintain a healthy savings for an emergency or to simply save up for something I want to buy.
- calculate total amount entering your account every month
To start with, you need to calculate the total amount of money coming into your bank account every month. This could come from a student loan or your job. Once you know a total amount coming into your account, then you can begin to calculate the rest from there.
2. calculate your monthly bills
Next up is your monthly expenses. This is anything from rent, gas, water and electricity bills, or a Netflix account. This includes any payment which comes out of your account every month. Once you know this, then you can subtract it from your total earnings every month to figure out what amount you are actually left with each month.
3. make a budget for food every month
The next step is to make a budget for food every month. How much you are going to spend on food and drinks, basically anything from the supermarket, every month. It might be easier to estimate if you calculate week by week. What also helps me is to think of meal plans and roughly how much they cost. This is important to first carve out the necessities of what you have to spend every month before you think about saving money or spending on fun activities.
4. make a budget for fun activities
I always try to budget ‘fun’ into my month. When I would say I wouldn’t spend money on coffee this month or not go out for lunch, I would always fail. So my new method is to plan fun things into my budget. For every month, I set aside a small amount of money to, for example, buy clothes, go out for lunch or dinner, buy a coffee or two or go to the movie. This way I have a set aside amount for each activity I want to do every month.
- €15 for coffee
- €20 for dinner
- €20 for a movie
- €30 for clothes
In doing this I can keep track of what I spend on these activities and make sure I don’t go over budget. If I don’t do one of the activities that month, then I can put that money into my savings.
5. calculate how much you want to save every month
The final step is to put aside the rest of the money every month into your savings. It is important to have a savings for those unexpected costs that might come up. I normally put the remainder of the money into my savings. The first few months I tried this method I had some trouble estimating my food budget every month but that’s never a problem because you can always bring money back from your savings and adjust your budget the next month. You just need to make sure you keep track of your bank balance as the month goes on.
Saving money every month really helps build a reliable amount of money you can fall back on. Even if its a small amount it always adds up.
- €20 every month (roughly €5 every week) x 12 months = €240 every year
- €50 every month (roughly €12.50 every week) x 12 months = €600 every year
- €100 every month (roughly €25 every week) x 12 months = €1,200 every year
- January until March- €20 every month (roughly €5 every week) x 3 months = €60
- April until June -€50 every month (roughly €12.50 every week) x 3 months = €150
- July until september -€100 every month (roughly €25 every week) x 3 months = €300
- october until december-€120 every month (roughly €30 every week) x 3 months = €360
Annual total = €870
Creating the right savings plan can help you build a strong savings, starting from even €5 every week. Certain months of the year might be easier to save in than others, but with an intentional budget and a savings plan, your goals can be reached. With a savings plan, it is always important to look at the long term goal, for months, a year or even years ahead. Whatever your goals, this plan should help to achieve them.
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