Managing money after Christmas
It has come to my attention, and my bank balances attention, that Christmas did some real damage to my funds. I respect my decisions to go out and have fun, buy good gifts for people that mean the most to me, and celebrate Christmas with good food- but now I am dealing with the consequences. It is not as bad as I think it is, but I do need to rebalance, readdress, flat out change my holiday approach to spending and working to minimise stress and also actually have a nice term 2.
Personally I have always been quite keen on making and saving money, but I still feel like I could always be better, and always have more cash to spare. Still, for what it is worth, I do think I do ok, and so I am thinking of sharing a few things that I try to incorporate into my routine which helps me keep on track.
Firstly, I am consistently mindful of outgoings and incomings. I regularly check my balances and keep note of what I have earned. It is particularly helpful having a job that is managed by Unitemps, as all timesheets are done electronically, and you can request holiday pay online too. I would definitely recommend scouting out a job with Unitemps- most applications can be done online too.
Secondly, I am mindful of commitments and my calendar, it is boring, but it does help. If I commit to a play, will the producers want to try and perform this play elsewhere, if so, I would need to set aside money for travel/ food etc. Am I planning a night out, if so, I probably will want some extra money in case I need an Uber, a drink, a kebab, chips, burger etc.? Am I… you get the drift.
Thirdly, I ask for student discount. I recognise that in person this can be unpleasant or awkward and even feel a bit cheeky. Alas, just ask you never know, and people do it all the time. In the same vein, if you’re going on a trip with a job or for your degree, ask about expenses, again may feel uncomfortable but you could get reimbursed, you never know.
Fourthly, I don’t ever condemn impulse buys. SO WHAT you bought a pair of jeans, sometimes you do and that is fine! I find that guilt around consumption more or less leads to either feeling awful or consuming more in the grand scheme of things. Often the mentality ‘Well I have bought that, oh dear, I might as well buy this and this and this…’ sets in. The easy solution is to not berate yourself for a casual spend every now and then.
Fifthly, I try and keep tally of standing orders. For instance, phone bills, rent, gas and electric, Wi-Fi etc. It is easy to forget about standard monthly/ termly payments but remaining mindful of them will avoid a dreaded shock when you see a sudden deduction.
Sixthly, another thing to be mindful of is not just term time expenditure but also holidays. If you have a job this might not be so much of a worry, however if you’re focusing on your studies then holidays ideally should be taken into some consideration too. For instance, you thinking of a festival, an unpaid placement, a party, a new wardrobe, a makeover…regardless it is just something to be wary of.
Finally, I could not not mention the weekly food shop. I have written a blog post previously about how to spin the food shop in your favour, i.e. lots of good food not too pricey, previously so if you’re interested of course give it a read. Or if you’re not interested, fine, I shall summarise a few things: buy frozen (don’t feel guilty about it sometimes frozen is more nutrient dense), meal plan and prep, look for bulk bargains, buy treats in the supermarket over the corner shop/ the vending machine etc, and don’t forget about your protein sources, more satiating and therefore worth the investment.
I hope this helps,