Today, we’re talking budgeting here on the blog. Budgeting is, in our humble opinion, a great way of bringing a little bit of zen into your life. Look, we’ve spent a fair amount of time using the swipe-until-delinced method, hoping for the best until you have to mumble something about how something must be wrong with the bank because you’ve got money while backing out of the store. We did that for decade or so. Now, however, we do budgeting and it feels good and it yields loads of grown-up points (which, for me who’s writing this, is a real win, since I also eat cereal straight from the box for dinner every now and then).
Listen: the hardest thing is to get started. Once you’ve done that, you’ve done a lot. Here are a few thoughts on savings, budgeting etc for students.
Tip 1: make a budget. There is a wide array of methods and ways to make a budget, 50-30-20 is one of them. The easiest is probably to just go back a few months on your bank account, have a look at things and then categorize: reoccurring necessary and “the rest”. Rent, insurance, electricity, food, savings, phone and wifi go into the necessary category. The rest is pleasure like travels, fika, shopping, Netflix etc. Decide how much you’re “allowed” to put into the the rest category. If you know you have payments that are reoccurring but not monthly, it might be nice to make a budget for all year.
Tip 2: Stick to your budget. By writing down your expenses every month (in a notebook or excel document) you can make sure you’re sticking to your plan. If you didn’t do an all-year budget before, you’re getting a good … for making one next year by following this step :)
Tip 3: Tend to the unexpected. There are a huge number of people in Sweden who can’t handle an unexpected expense of 3000 kr – according to Svea ekonomi it’s a whopping 20%. For us students it might be even harder since our incomes are generally not huge. Put away a little money to a savings for unexpected things-account every month and as time passes you can feel more and more safe (and this sort of financial zen).
Tip 4: Monthly payments. We mentioned irregular reoccurring expenses/payments. To get better control and to be less likely to get sad surprises: try changing to monthly payments. With many (CSN being one of them), all it takes is a call saying you want to change your payment plan.
Last year we posted three tips for better savings – read that too for even more inspiration!