By Phil Davis

Getting to know your own behaviour with money is a key strategy to ensuring you manage your cash effectively. By far the best way of examining your own spending is to draw up a budget. This allows you to check your spending habits over a manageable time period (usually a month), so you can get to grips with what money you have, and where it goes.

This exercise usually involves getting your recent bank statements and bills to hand, together with details of all your sources of income. And then the (ahem) ‘fun’ begins. There is no getting round the fact that budgeting is a pretty dry subject, but a number of organisations have tried to address this by creating on-line tools which make the process a bit more engaging.

Here’s a list of resources which aim to make budgeting more accessible:

You may also wish to check out the budgeting tools provided by many of the major high street banks, or by your course provider.

You may also find this student finance online income/expenditure sheet a useful tool to help you budget.

The key to getting a better understanding of your money is to make a budget plan. Even if you just do it once, that is enough to give you a better understanding of what money you have on a monthly basis, and what you can (and can’t) afford. Of course, reviewing your budget on a regular basis is a great idea, so if you get chance keep going back to it and use it as a tool to refine your spending.