Don't be scared by words and phrases like "budget", "disposable income", and "Betalingsservice" ("Payment Service"). These very words can become your best friends in times where money is tight.
Many students have found themselves a bit short on cash with some time to go before their next student grant payment shows up in their accounts. But what if you could avoid that end-of-the-month experience?
There's only one way: Make your own budget and stick to it! That way, you can get an overview of your income from student grants and/or your student job — and you can see how many expenses you have each month. You can use Excel to make your budget, but most banks also have a budget sheet online.
First, fill in all your sources of income on your budget. That includes student grants, wages, housing support, money pulled from your savings, and maybe some "money from home", too. You can use Excel, or find a template online.
Then, take a look at all of the expenses you MUST pay each month, like your rent, electricity bill, insurance, transportation, mobile phone, and Netflix or HBO. If you've already set up direct debit payments with Betalingsservice, you can easily get an overview of your fixed expenses from your monthly payment summary. Remember, you can find it in your e-box.
Unlike the fixed expenses you know in advance, there are also some "looser", more variable expenses. These are expenses you know you'll have, but without also knowing exactly how much you'll spend on them each month. These include clothing, food, going out, travelling, and so on. This is where a budget often gives you an advantage. It's easy to spend more on these incidental expenses than you might expect initially.
This is also an opportunity for you to set aside a fixed amount for unforeseen expenses, like a dentist visit.
When you make a budget, it's a good idea to divide it into different categories, like housing and transportation. That way, you can easily have an overview of the individual components in your finances.