Keeping your budget on track—healthy money habits

Keeping your budget on track—healthy money habits

As a student, healthy money habits are essential for looking out for yourself both now and in the future.

I’ve put together some simple daily tips, based on my own experience managing money while studying, on how to keep your budget on track.

Plan ahead and plan smart

To help manage your weekly or monthly spending, start by identifying all of your regular fixed expenses for that period, such as rent and internet costs, and set this amount aside as soon as money comes into your account. By separating out these known expenses into a different bank account as early as possible, you know you’ll have funds available when these payments are due. Set up automatic payments for these expenses so you don’t have to rely on memory, and keep track of when regular but variable expenses, such as power, will be due so you’re not caught short.

You can use online budgeting tools through sites like to map out your weekly or monthly budget and work out how much you can spend and save by adjusting your variable costs, such as transport, entertainment and food. A trick to managing your food budget is to plan your meals, check your pantry, write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket and then stick to it so you avoid walking away with unnecessary items—even if they were on sale!

Be an energy hero

As we head further into winter, you’ll be using more power to keep yourself warm, so you’ll need to make sure you’re using energy cost effectively.

Before you turn up the heater, make sure it’s an appropriate size for the space you’re heating and prevent any heat loss by closing your curtains and plugging gaps under doors using draught stoppers or even a rolled up towel.

Pay attention to your appliances’ energy efficiency, and check out EECA’s Energy Wise website for advice. Using the cold water setting on your washing machine can save up to 40 cents per wash, and in the kitchen, it can be more time and cost effective to heat food in the microwave, rather than using an oven or electric stove top. Make sure to check the door seal of your fridge—if the door doesn’t seal properly, the fridge will need to pump out more energy to keep food cold.

It’s okay to treat yourself

It can be hard to resist temptations to spend, with new gadgets, branded apparels and accessories everywhere. Being in control of your budget doesn’t mean that you can’t ever treat yourself. It’s okay to indulge in some new clothes, as long as you know that all of your necessary expenses are already covered. Treat yourself to a flat white or try that new restaurant, as long as you cook at home most of the time.

Finally, if you need some extra help with budgeting or find yourself facing some unexpected expenses you couldn’t plan for, make an appointment with one of Victoria University’s student finance advisers to receive one-on-one financial support and guidance.

Yuwanti R. Respatyanti is a Master’s student at the School of Chemical & Physical Sciences.

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