Blog post

How I budget as a student: Benas Ruzgys

Benas Ruzgys shares some useful information, tips and tricks, along with his monthly maths to help you manage your budget.

9 July 2021

Budgeting is a scary adult term. Most of us have not had that much practice with it before coming to university so it will probably be your first experience, and just like me, you may have no idea what you are doing! But on the most basic level, it is planning. Similar to dealing with deadlines: you don’t want to be doing all your work in one night, it’s better to schedule out your work. In this case – plan out your money.

In this blog, I will share with you some useful information, tips, and tricks – things that I have picked up along the way. But just to note, my home country is Lithuania and I only moved to the United Kingdom when starting university, so I do not get a student finance loan therefore I can’t give much perspective on that side of things. Also, I do not own a car, nor drive, so I won’t be going over car maintenance costs either. But I am sure you will find my other points useful. So, let’s get straight into it.

Online budgeting

What helped me the most is Revolut banking app’s analytical and budgeting tools. I could limit my spending by separating my money into groups, for example, rent, groceries, hobbies, going out, etc. Also, having all your spending calculated and illustrated gives you a clear image of your finances.

As I moved from a European country to the United Kingdom I constantly have to exchange currencies from euros to pounds – Revolut provides me with a 1000-euro limit of free currency exchange and only a 0.5% fee afterward. Which has saved me quite a lot of money throughout my two years at University so far.

Income and Employability

Utilise the already existing university resources, mainly Careers & Employment Service, and register with the Student Employment Agency. You can set up consultations to get help with your CVs and cover letters. Find job and volunteering opportunities and also learn how to become more employable through their webinars.

Pay attention to internships opportunities through these services, as they are exclusive to University of Derby students. Then lastly, I would recommend completing the University Futures Award – it’s really achievable, looks good on your CV and you will build new skills and knowledge along the way.

Some other options to gain skills and generate income, in your own time, and pathways I found helpful are:

  1. Register to STINT – it is a free service that allows students to pick up work shifts. You build your own schedule so it can make it a lot easier to balance university assignments and lectures along with working. All you have to do is register, create your account, then join a zoom call where you will have to confirm your identity, but don’t worry everything is explained step by step in their app and website.
  2. If you are looking to apply for a more reliable role Indeed and LinkedIn are your friends.

My budgeting

Figuring out how to budget yourself is trial and error, considering everyone has different spending habits. So I’m going to share my budgeting to give you a place to start, but please have a good think about your own spending and then apply your own numbers:

Whenever the money is tight, I would highly recommend lowering the amount you are spending on ordering take-out food and going out. Making your own food isn’t all bad and can actually be quite entertaining by experimenting and trying out new foods, for instance, this year I’m all about making stir-fry. Tasty and cheap.

Top tips to keep bills low

All in all, budgeting is not as scary as it looks as long as you have somewhere to start. Hopefully, reading this will put you on the right track and you’ll be enjoying your discounts and extra cash in no time. Enjoy the process, you can learn a lot about yourself during the process.