Thank you so much for the suggestions on what I should cover for my #ThirdYearThrift series! Please keep them coming, I’ll keep going until everything is covered.
This week I want to start with the most basic step – budgeting. I know budgeting is done to death on posts like this, but I’m going to briefly explain a bit about how I budget for placements and course costs at the start of the academic year. I’ll write in focus on some of what I cover quickly in this post.
When you boil it down, budgeting really only requires three things
- Planning ahead – which I think I’m quite good at
- Honesty about your spending habits, needs, and wants – which I’m not great at
- Prioritising – having enough food to keep myself healthy and full of energy is more important than me having a mocha from the Costa in my building in college
👉 First step is to work out your income. I split mine between regular income like my student grant, and irregular income like the spare few euro I get from doing online surveys.
👉 The next step is your essential spending. I divide these into categories as well
- regular consistent spending – like rent and phone bills
- regular varying spending – utility bills and groceries
- predictable spending – gifts for people’s birthday and placement costs
This is where it can get difficult for healthcare students as sometimes we need to travel for placements and rent a room nearby or pay for more expensive transport. Try and organise this as far in advance as you can so you know what you need to spend. For example, for my UK placement I know that I need £75 a week for rent on top paying for my room in Dundalk. I have a sticky note with bus ticket costs to each placement area. Finding that out in mid-August means I can plan to keep money aside for that much easier than if I found out mid-September.
👉 Then there’s what I can “keep me sane” spending. These are things that I could probably live without but it makes me happy to spend money on them when I can afford it. For example, skincare makes me feel like I have my shit together. I have no idea why, it’s just one of those things. I splash out on Lush if I can afford it, otherwise I still to Boots own brand or another generic.
👉 Finally, I look at a saving goal. In 2016/2017 I focused on getting enough money to pay the €7,231 college fee and to use for my living costs (read all about it here if you haven’t already). The picture below is the visual I made in August 2016 to keep myself on track. Right now for me it’s all about surviving third year without letting worrying about money destroy my mental health.