Budgeting tips from smart saver and Arts/Law student, Marnie Watts

Marnie Watts is an Arts/Law student at the University of New South Wales. This is what she had to say to Femme Fiscal about the importance of budgeting:

“I moved to Sydney at 20. I was working 35-40+ hours a week and attempting to balance full-time studies at the same time to ensure I never failed to meet my expenses every week. However, after learning to budget and properly manage my money, I have managed to cut back to under 25 hours a week, have moved to a home with higher rent, and live comfortably enough to be able to travel every year.

Here are a few things I wish I had known when I first moved, and some tips for managing finances when you first move out:

  • Do not underestimate putting money aside for your ‘savings’, no matter how small. $10 a week adds up, and is always better than nothing!
  • Plan ahead! Remember you will have bills coming up, groceries, textbooks etc. Put a little aside every week to make sure you can meet your commitments!
  • Expect the unexpected! You wouldn’t think it is possible to lock your own keys, your housemate’s keys and the spare keys in the same house… but it has happened! $150 for a locksmith is a little rich if you don’t have money aside for those little extras!
  • Have a weekly budget. Break down all of your expenses for the week (and longer term too) and put the money aside that you need. Set saving goals and stick to them.
  • Develop a filing system for all of your bills and mark the date you pay them. There are inevitably issues with any type of energy or phone company, and having this system ensures no stress.
  • Save your coins! I have a friend that budgets, and then only spends her notes. She puts all the coins in a jar and cashes them in at the end of the month, and often has $200-$300 extra at the end of the month!

My most important tip is don’t wait for the ‘right time’! While at times living away from home is interesting and feels difficult, learning to manage your finances and be independent early on is invaluable! While the above makes it sound a bit boring and stressful, it’s actually lots of fun!”

Do you also have a story to share with Femme Fiscal or tips and tricks that you think others should know? Contact us on Facebook, Twitter or email femmefiscal@gmail.com.

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