Tips to manage your finances and save money!

Now as I’m starting on my higher education, I recieve 5903 DKK (790€) as a student each month. For others it may be a little but for me it’s plenty. As I was doing an internship in Hamburg I recieved 650€ (4850 DKK) before taxes. There is more than 100€ difference. But I managed to get my finances in order as I made a budget for every month. Here I also used discount codes online, in shops, super markets etc. Therefore I would like to share some of my experiences/tips.

Before you make the budget

There are many things you have to think of when you make a budget. There are some essential things which are always or often there as a student:

  • Rent
  • Food
  • Mobile / Internet
  • Clothes
  • Sparetime activities
  • Beauty
  • Night out
  • ….

Before you get started I recommend you to make a food plan (inc the prices of the ingredients). Then you will get an idea of how much money you should be spending on food. You should also research more on the prices of mobile, internet, rent, power, water, heat etc.

Make a clear budget (I made mine in Excel)

As a student you may not have too much money to deal with. You can always get a studentjob to solve this problem. But it would always be a good idea to have an overview. I made my budget where I put a limit on the amount of money I was allowed to use. The first picture (Sheet 1) is where I put in my costs for each day. Thereafter all the data was put into Sheet 2 by formulas.

Budget_1

Sheet 1

Budget_2

Sheet 2

  • Make it clear
  • You can make a visual overview (graphical presentation) of all of your costs
  • Set a limit (Note! Be realistic when you set your limits!)
  • Be aware of you may need to put money aside to sudden arising costs (not necessarily party, alcohol… But important things as medicine, bills etc)
  • Divide your costs into variable and fixed costs
  • If you want to make something similar to mine, you should make it with 2 sheets. 1 is where you enter the costs, the other is with formulas. You can save it as a template.

Discount codes online and in shops

Believe it or not. Discount codes can sometimes be important if you do have the most money to deal with. 5%, 10% or more can make a big difference. So go ahead and look for discount sides. But also use your common sense! A lot of companies manipulate the consumer with discount codes which may make you buy something with 50% but is not worth it.

Keep an eye on flyers/advertising

Keep an eye on different deals. This involves food, beauty, electronic, makeup, things for home etc. For example if your favourite toothpaste costs 2€ as a deal instead of the usual 3€, then you should just buy 2 of them. In the long term you got more for less money.

Make a food plan for a week at a time.

To make it work you need tp make a plan. It may be annoying to plan a whole week. On the other hand you would save a lot of money as you are capable of calculating how much money you will be spending on a week.

Make a grocery list

You avoid the so called impulse buying. You often get tempted to buy goods that you may not even need. When you have a list, it’s easier to stick to it.

Buy food on offer (and put it in the freezer)

If you care about being healthy, you may already know that it can be quite expensive dealing with such goods as vegetables, meat etc as a student. Therefore I would recommend you to keep an eye on the flyers (much like the “flyers” section I wrote earlier). Sometimes you can buy 1 kg chicken fillet for almost no money. You can buy the chicken and put the in the freezer and then save for some other time.

Buy groceries in the morning or shortly before they’re closing

The super markets always have products which be near the last sales date. You can be lucky to find meat or something similar that is reduced by 20 – 50 % discount. Then you can freeze the meat and you is it some days later.

NEVER EVER go shopping on an empty stomach!

This is another trap when you’re out shopping. Maybe you have a grocery list but the hunger can ruin it. We get tempted with our eyes and nose. The stores have a staff that is specialized in tempting consumers to buy some sweet things etc., just by placing the things in a certain area. So if you’re already a bit hungry, you better have some guts!

Make dobble portions

I’m not only talking about making a portion of pasta for 4 days. If you make a new dish every day, is it both time consuming and it can end in having food waste. Make a bigger portion which you can warmup the next after or bring it as lunch as well.

Leave money at home

If you really want to save money, leave your cash at home if you’re going to work, school etc. when they have a cafeteria, snackbox, snack vending machine.  Sometimes as I go to the university I don’t even have a cash or card with me if I know that I don’t want to buy anything. The temptation to buy a little snack may come if there is a cafeteria nearby.

Buy recycled

It’s funny to hear from students with their money problems. In the mean time they are walking around with the newest Hilfiger watch, Diesel accessories. Do you know how much money you can save on recycling? I admit that some of my clothes are from recycling. And some brands are Adidas, VILA, Hummel. The clothes have been worn a couple of times or maybe more. But hey, there ist mostly nothing wrong with most of the clothes. And you in most cases also support recycling which is only a good thing. But you’ll never know. They may have much more that you might find valuable. One man’s trash is another man’s gold!

I hope you can use some of my tips or just considerations for what you’re doing. Even small changes can make a huge difference. What do you otherwise do to save money? If you have any other methods you’re as always welcome to leave a comment! 🙂

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