You’re halfway through the month and your bank account is almost empty. Does this happen to you on a regular basis? And can't you figure out how it’s possible that you're in the red every time? Then it would be useful to make a budget.
If you want a buffer in your savings account, then looking at your income and expenses is a good plan.
NIBUD (NL) has a very handy Excel template, in which you can enter almost all the expenses you have. Think of tuition and fees, but also rent, health insurance, personal care and leisure expenses
Wine and pizza
Do you really want a good overview of your spending? Then be really honest with yourself and include that unexpected glass of wine and those three pizzas. They may only cost you a small amount, but they add up to quite a bit. The best way to keep track of all your expenses is to write them down in your phone's notes. You probably always have your phone with you anyway. By writing everything down, you can better determine afterwards where you might be able to save money.
For an accurate picture of your income, it's more convenient to look at the transactions in your banking app. What are you earning from your side job? Do you still get some money from your parents? Write it all down under "Income. Also, find out if you might be able to get any money back from the tax authorities.
Did you fill in everything? Then scroll to 'Income minus Expenses'. Do you have nothing left over? Or are you in deficit? Then go through the list of expenses again. Do you really need that expensive perfume? And couldn't those groceries be a bit cheaper? If you keep an eye on supermarket brochures, you can save a lot!
Okay. Now you know what you can save on, to make ends meet. Very nice! But you're not there yet. To avoid having to scrape money out of your savings account every month, it's helpful to set up a good plan for your money. You can do that with the Flow app, which just got a new Money Method for students! You can create jars for things like fixed expenses, clothes, groceries, going out, etc. Take out your Excel sheet again and see how much you need each month for each expense. Flow a set amount to these jars each month. With your your new money plan in Flow, you may have money left over that you can save!