-branded food is not essential
-go halves with a flat mate on things like bread/milk so you don't waste money and food
-keep leftovers for the next day
-take food from home that you've made into uni instead of spending money on lunch
I looked on some chat forums to see if other students had given any suggestions for budgeting:
I looked on sussex student living to get some ideas about student budgeting:
Step 1: Check you’re getting everything you’re entitled to and look into other ways to increase your income
- Check that you’re not missing out on anything you’re entitled to (e.g. statutory student support,welfare benefits, tax credits) and check that you’re getting paid the correct amount.
- Look into other ways to increase your income such as part-time/vacation work, tax rebates, ALF awards, grants from trusts/charities and scholarships/bursaries.
Step 2: Find ways to reduce your expenditure and avoid money drains
- Try to find ways to cut down on what you spend such as applying for help with your health costs, using your NUS card to get discounts, taking advantage of student travel discounts, making your own lunch rather than buying it on campus & taking advantage of shop loyalty cards/multibuy offers
- Avoid common money drains such as credit/store cards (high interest rates), going over your agreed overdraft limit (bank charges) or running up expensive mobile phone bills because you’re not on the most appropriate tariff.
Step 3: Work out your priorities and ensure that you have set aside money to cover these first
- Make sure that you have enough money set aside in your budget for the basics (food, shelter, warmth, light & health)
- Identify what else is most important to you (for eg. course fees, books/equip for your course etc) and allocate money for these next
- Only allocate any remaining money in your budget to other items once you have covered the costs you have identified as priorities first.
Step 4: Organise your payments
- Set up direct debit payments for your essential expenditure wherever possible so that you don’t forget to pay them
- Spread payments as much as possible so that they are little and often; or
- Make payments that tie in with when you receive your income (for eg. pay your term’s rent when your maintenance loan arrives).
Step 5: Stick to your budget and spend sensibly
- Be disciplined & stick to your budget
- Take responsibility for your money and don’t expect family/friends to bail you out if you run short (remember that they have financial responsibilities too)
- Try to only take out what cash you need/can afford and then don't take out any more
- Make lists when you go shopping and stick to them - try to avoid ‘impulse’ spending
- If you do go over your budget, make sure you amend your budget for the following week(s) to take account of your overspend
- If you find that you need to spend less on an item of expenditure than you have budgeted for - don’t increase your expenditure just for the sake of it or blow the money on something else, put the money aside into a savings account so that you will always have some money set aside for emergencies, for unexpected expenditure and for treats.
Step 6: Regularly review your budget
- Monitor how easy you find it to stick to your budget and amend it accordingly
- Check that there is nothing you have missed out of your budget
- Remember to draft a new budget whenever your circumstances or priorities change
I checked out a price comparison website looking at various prices on popular branded products for more research on budgeting: