Everything is awesome
Lift off. You’re leaving home. Henceforth you shall be free from people telling you what to do. Everything is Great with a capital G: it’s the Great Unknown, which is exciting because you’re a fan of spontaneity; it’s Great Expectations, because you have great expectations and there’s a movie and a book based on this; it’s the Greatest Hits of your life, streaming 24/7 for the next infinity.
Now, have you thought about where you’ll land? Do you have money, or plan to acquire some? Let’s talk.
Income: The bit where money comes to you
You’re going to need some income to pay for a place to live, the things inside it, food, study (potentially), and – important! – fun. Which of the following ways might you funnel money into your bank account?
- Parents: Do they have any money, and if so, can you have some of it?
- Savings: Have you got any?
- Part-time work: Have some?
- Studylink: What combination of allowance, loan or other assistance could you receive?
- A Lotto win: How hard could it be?
Have a good plan; prevent angst
As Bear Grylls parachutes into unknown territory, he considers the lay of the land, mentally plotting the best route back to civilisation. His plan helps him to avoid marauding piranhas and attack panthers, and to steer towards places with edible ants or comfy trees.
Like Bear, you need to form a plan, otherwise known as a budget. It doesn’t sound very sexy, but neither is getting DECLINED, which is like a tragic movie break-up between you and the EFTPOS machine. Spend a little time on a budget now to avoid angsty money stuff (which will encroach on good times) later.
Creating a budget can be as simple as scrawling some figures on a piece of paper. Also, bonus fact: writing stuff down makes it more likely you’ll follow through with it. You can graduate to fancy budgets later – they’re called ‘spreadsheets’ or ‘accountants’.
Remember, it’s up to you to bring your budget into existence. There is no magical budgetarium where budgets wait for you on their roost. This is not Harry Potter. Your budget is not an owl.
Expenses: The bit where you part ways with money
Expenses? Yep. These are the goods and services you exchange for money, like internet, electricity and potatoes. If you’re unsure of what expenses impose themselves on the average household, check out the example in this survival guide PDF, or this Sorted interactive.
List your expenses in your budget and see how they stack up against your potential income. Include room under expenses for rewards and fun times (Scrabble night!) to keep motivated.
Communication and rudimentary time travel
Talking to someone about your budget will help iron out any unrealistic bits. And you know who’s perfect for the job? A former version of you who (technology and inflation aside) has been in your exact position. I’m talking about your parents. Or grandparents. Or relatives. Or a time-travelling clone.
These time travellers (they’ve been to the past!) are on your team, and have learned about money through trial and error. Talk to them. Extract their financial wisdom. To quote The Lego Movie: ‘Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team.’
Stay tuned for the next instalment on getting set up in your new place and looking after yourself.
Information contained in this article is correct at the date of publishing and is intended as general information only. This article does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances, please contact an authorised financial adviser.