Helpful Budgeting Tips

Ashleigh Williams
The Core London
Winter 2016

The ACU travel grant was an absolute blessing when it came to travelling Europe. Without flights to pay for and unsure whether I would ever make the never ending trek back over here, I promptly booked a trip for over two months. While I don’t regret that decision, I think I got a little too excited splashing my cash after my flights that I forgot to factor in that I actually needed spending money and to eat and participate in activities for those two months. I was very conscious that a budget was necessary if I was going to make it through without experiencing starvation at some point and because of this, I talked myself out of buying every single keyring labelled ‘London’ and every pen shaped like the Big Ben when I landed on Christmas Day. I asked myself ‘is this purchase necessary?’, followed by ‘will I ever use this?’ The answer was always no and I saved a good £4 every time I denied myself. It may not seem like much, but trust me; you would rather buy your lunch than a pen-you find enough of those for free left on the desks at uni.

To solidify the fact that I should not be buying daily hot chocolates to keep my hands warm and should just wear my £1 gloves from Poundland instead, I received an email from my boss to tell me since I can’t work full-time, she would have to let me go when my trip was over. I now realise I have gone from some kind of budget to emergency budget in 0.2 seconds. I pondered that night whether I really needed dinner or not, but then thought I should legitimately re-evaluate this money situation without being ridiculous.

It has occurred to me that on top of all the souvenirs that I absolutely do not need, things as simple as getting tap water at dinner instead of that coke will make a difference. You’re on holidays and this is usually never a healthy endeavour so not only will your body thank you for that, but so will your wallet – finding dinner every night when you don’t have a microwave or a fridge is hard and expensive work! Speaking of food, spending £5 ($10 AUD) every time you want a café slice as a snack adds up. Quietly confiscating croissants from the free hotel breakfast room instead definitely saved me a few dollars!

ACU also provided all of us with a London Pass which saved me hundreds in entry fees to attractions and activities all over London. While I was all about the budget, I wasn’t going to miss out on opportunities I would never have again. Money was only money after all and experiences like you can have in London don’t always come knocking twice. So with a few meals skipped when I wasn’t hungry, my suitcase free of any souvenirs and my declining of the invitation to go the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theatre show the night before, I knew it was time to indulge when I visited the Royal Albert Hall on my London Pass and fell in love – so in love that I couldn’t resist buying some well-priced tickets to the Cirque Du Soliel show on that very night (obviously after asking for a student discount). Turns out it was worth every penny!

My budget isn’t perfect… In fact, I don’t even really have a tangible budget it at all! However, I really am pacing myself and is all a matter of asking yourself ‘yes, I’m on holiday but do I really need this?’ It’s all too easy to spend money on anything you want when overseas, especially when your flights were paid for, but there’s no use throwing away your money either! You wouldn’t do it at home, so why do it overseas? But don’t let yourself miss out on what could be an unforgettable experience for the sake of money either. I have definitely found it is the experiences rather than the things that are worth it. Everything in moderation!