In the beginning, it was exciting for me to have an allowance, and I thought I would spend it on anything I wanted. It was not a very good idea as you can guess. I finished my first month’s allowance within two weeks. It was mostly because of the terrible management and financial decisions I made. Starting a new year was so exciting that I went and bought all my semester course books from the bookstore (pro tip: don’t do this before asking your instructors). Books are super expensive, and unless the instructor specifies that you need a book for the course, don’t get one.
Another mistake I believe I made was experimenting with the food I found at the grocery store. For some reason, I have this habit of wanting to try anything new. Everything was new and exciting for me. It felt as if all the food was calling my name! That was horrible; my bank account was already suffering, and it had to bear more misery. It was a waste of money because a specific type of food didn’t sit well with my stomach. Most of these items that looked delicious just ended up tasting weird and would either get rotten or thrown away.
Also, as new students many of us study to find a place. Here is a great blog about five fun activities you can possibly get involved in at METU, NCC!
Benefit from the experience others for managing finances
An excellent way to manage your finances well is to spend it mindfully. Get recommendations from your peers on the bare essentials that you need as a student. Try to hold yourself back from purchasing unnecessary items that you might not need.
Keep a journal to visualize your spending
It’s a good idea to try and keep a journal of your budget. Record how much your allowance is and how much you need to spend each month. For example, you can create a section for how much you spent in grocery shopping, how much you spent shopping, and how much you spent eating out. That way, you can really visualize your spendings. Remember! What gets measured, gets managed!
Furthermore, with a journal, you will know what to cut and what to include in your budget. You will know the things that eat up most of your money and will help you save a considerable amount of money.
Use your bank’s mobile application for great analytics
Another good tip is to learn to use your bank’s mobile application. A lot of banks have user-friendly interfaces that allow you to gauge your spending and savings. For example, the Is Bank app helps you manage your finances well by providing graphs of spending, savings, etc. There is also this feature that keeps a record of the money you spent at a place and when.
Here is a great story to end things well! I have a friend who was a heavy smoker. She eventually quit smoking and put the money she would spend on cigarettes on an outside safe. She struggled at the beginning, but by the end of the semester, she saved a lot of money, and she rewarded herself by buying a special gift. Great, eh?
Have you had similar experiences when you started out university? If so, leave a comment below! I would love to hear about how you finally managed.