Budgeting at university with Poku Banks
TikTok star and financial expert Poku Banks joins the podcast to give you even more finance and budgeting tips in this very special bonus episode.
TikTok star and financial expert Poku Banks joins the podcast to give you even more finance and budgeting tips in this very special bonus episode.
[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello, I'm Ethan. Speaker 2 And I'm Libby. Speaker 1 And we're both first year students at Birmingham City University. Speaker 2 This is the Get Ready for Uni podcast where we talk about our experience of first year and also give you guys top tips for starting university. Speaker 1 If you're looking for more tips for starting uni, just visit the BCU website and search Get Ready for Uni. Speaker 2 And also make sure to follow BCU on our social media platforms. Speaker 1 So Libs, what are we going to be talking about today? Speaker 2 Today we are going into finance within the university. So we're talking about, you know, budgeting schemes, how we've found money in our experience of first year, how we've actually managed to deal with both receiving and taking out a lot of money, obviously with the government and that and just yeah, basically how we found it and how we can teach our students to not be as anxious about because we have had a lot of worry from upcoming students about it, so I thought, you know, we could go into that a bit today. And we've also got a guest on today, a financial expert as well, so that would be more help for those who need to know any questions or anything like that. Speaker 1 So this episode, it's kind of like a link back to one of our older ones as well. We're just like, Yeah. Speaker 2 It's like it's kind of a bonus episode. Exactly so yeah, it'll be quite interesting to do, so yeah, I'm quite excited for it. So we've actually got a special guest with us today. His name's Poku Banks and he's actually a content creator who specialises in helping people learn about money and finance and budgeting in a way that's really easy to understand as well. So today we're going to be talking to him to learn more about what students can do at uni to make it more affordable. So if you'd like to introduce yourself Poku. Speaker 3 What's good guys, it's Poku Banks baby. So essentially, I teach the UK about personal finance, teaching them essentially what school doesn't, now for me I have a collective following of around 400,000 followers, across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, essentially teaching the youth. So, while they're aimlessly scrolling on the phone while scrolling through, you know, a lot of rubbish, they can come to my videos something great for the day. So that's my aim. If you can just go on your friend and learn something great about finance, which school didn't teach you, I've done my job. Not only that, I run a company called the Gen Z Club where we host networking events all over the UK. We've hosted some in Birmingham actually, we hosted one here February I believe. Speaker 1 So quite recent then. Speaker 3 Yeah, end of February. And then not only that, I'm a currency trader. Speaker 2 Oh that's quite good then. Well so we've heard that you just recently graduated from university yourself. So, I'd say the first question for you is what is your advice be for like managing student finance, like how to do that? Speaker 3 Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just graduated from the University of Nottingham. I studied finance, accounting and management and it was a great time. But what I saw there, right, about uni, like my friends and what not, but one problem that a lot of people have is that they like to freestyle everything. Speaker 2 That's me. Speaker 3 They like to just, you know, through uni and just go day by day they don't plan for the future. Me I like to be focused, I like to plan ahead, plan for potential pitfalls and what not. So when it comes to managing your finances, I think first off, you know, as you will know, you all get student finance. Yeah. Usually, it's in around three big drops spread across the year. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 So when you work in the real world, you get paid monthly, so all you've got to do is just look forward for the next month, maybe month or two. Speaker 3 But whereas with uni, it's like it's now training you to think, okay, can you manage this? I'm going to give you a drop here in September, you're not getting no more until, you know, January. Speaker 2 Yeah, it's like, you're on your own. Speaker 3 Yeah, you're on your own for the next four months, three months. First of all, I think the first step to manage your finances is simply, you know, just looking ahead, looking ahead and looking at, ok, cool be real with yourself. Ok December I'm probably going to spend more, my birthday might be in November, cool I'm going to spend more. October I'm probably be doing assignments and what not. September, freshes, yeah, I'm going to spend. So be real with yourself, there's no need to act and lie and just act like it's a it's oblivious to you when in reality these months are coming up. So I say the first step for anyone to manage their finances simply to look ahead and plan and see how they can stretch their student finance. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 To move on from that, I feel like a lot people online talk about, you know, sources of income, but what we also need to take into consideration is sources of outcome as well. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 So there's money coming into your bank account, which is, you know, income sources, but then there's also money coming out. Yeah. So some people like to get Ubers everywhere. That's us. Some people like to spend a lot on takeaways. That's also us. Some people go out and buy a lot of drinks and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, there's nothing wrong with that, but understand this is how I am as a person, this is how much I'm spending let's work out what's coming in and what's coming out. Got student finance coming in, can I cover all my rent? Speaker 2 Exactly that's the main thing. Speaker 3 That's the main thing, you've got to ask yourself, does it cover your rent? Good. Does it cover it just a little bit or have you got spare. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 Let's say for my situation, you know, I had it, covered it, but I didn't have any, it covered it, but I didn't have any spare so I to make money myself, so that then told me that I need to go out my way to then go get a part time job, this was in first year so I had a spare time to do so. So it's just understanding what your life situation is because everyone's is different, some people have got bank of mum and dad sponsoring them, so their maybe living different lifestyles and they may be your friends so then you're trying to compete or, Speaker 1 Be on the same level. Speaker 3 Yeah, be on the same level when in reality they have a whole different financial situation. Speaker 2 Yeah, exactly, it's weird. Speaker 3 You know? So it's just understanding yourself how, how is it set up? How are you going to be able to not compete, but how are you going to be able to stay friends with them and do the same activities if you have different finances. Speaker 2 Yeah, it's like personal. Speaker 3 So understanding your own, ok cool I've got to work, sometimes I can go out every day, but I've got to work these days and then it makes up for it. Speaker 1 So obviously you spoke about, you know, like taking into account, you know, months where they may be like special occasions, like your birthday, Christmas and stuff. But what about, you know, just like, say, your normal average month say like, January to March where there's no birthdays, no special occasions, and you're kind of just left alone with your own money. How would you like budget that would you say? Speaker 3 Okay, cool. So, one of the most popular rules that a lot of people follow is the 50, 30, 20 rule. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 So 50% of your money goes towards needs, 30% goes towards wants, and 20% goes towards savings and investments. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 So across that period that January to March period I'd simply get the money you have, now I always advise to save first, so pay cheque comes in, money comes in, save it first. One mistake that a lot of people make is that they spend and then save what's remaining. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 I personally believe that you should save first and then you're left with whatever's remaining to then spend on what you want. Speaker 1 So you know that you're definitely going to have that money, like at the end of the day anyway. Speaker 3 Yeah, exactly. So it's a more guilty-free way of having fun. You know, when you get your paycheque and you've saved a bit and put that into a different account, you know open another account, and then you spend the rest having fun or whatever, at least you can have fun in the back of your head knowing, I've got money saved. Speaker 2 Yeah, you're not stressed, you're not like, 'Oh actually I've got nothing left after this' at least I've got some backup. Speaker 3 At least you've got a back up. Whereas if you do it the other way round, you may get towards the end the month and you think, 'You know what, I'll do it next month, I'll save next month'. So yeah, I say, first of all, 50, 30, 20 rule, so that's how you should split your finances, so for needs. And one thing I would say, define what is a need and a want in your life. So a need is food, so this is food to actually stay alive and function well. But then a want is a takeaway. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 2 So like a necessity. Speaker 3 They're both foods but one is actually a need and a takeaway is like ok that's you, it's not being lazy but you know it's a treat, you know you getting a whole Domino's to yourself and whatnot and you just spend way more. Or like even after the club you go to the kebab shop, like yeah, that's a want. There's nothing wrong with having wants, it's cool. Speaker 2 Everyone's got a want, like Maccies on the ramp after a thing maybe. Speaker 1 Ah that's lovely. Speaker 2 Yeah, might have to calm down that one. Speaker 3 Talking about, like, food and, like, you know, different things that you can, like, splurge out on and needs and wants. Is there any, like apps or discounts that you like recommend for any people looking to start university and that. Speaker 3 Yeah, so first of all everyone download UNiDAYS right now. Speaker 2 Just get that out the way. Speaker 3 It's a good app that one. Speaker 1 Just get that, it's got connections to all sorts of apps like Boohoo, yeah and it's very useful. Me now that I've left university, I wish someone could just you know, just give me their account. Speaker 2 It gets you quite like a big discount on most things as well, it's not just like clothes, it's like food as well and travel and stuff. Speaker 1 No, exactly yeah. Speaker 3 I then in terms of the essential discount, that you should go out of your way to do, look into any student travel cards, look for your respective city, look for any travel discounts regarding travel so that's bus, train, look for anything in that sort of nature because you will be travelling. Secondly I also say Spotify, I love music. I think the Spotify deal is £4.99 a month. Speaker 2 Yeah. Speaker 3 Whereas once you know leave uni it is £9.99. Speaker 2 Yeah I think it's the same with Apple Music and all that, I think most of them do, or even like Netflix and stuff, they're all starting to get student ones so that you can get like a certain amount off a month. I think they've realised that we're probably the most, most of the demographic don't we yeah. Speaker 1 We're the biggest consumers aren't we like, kind of the younger audiences. Speaker 2 Exactly, I think that's what most companies are realising now because there wasn't, I don't think a few years ago I'd never really heard of like any uni discounts or anything like that. But like once we've actually started, you know, sort of easing into the uni life, it's been like, oh wow, I can actually get discounts on like every single thing. We go out to dinner, we can get discounts, I'll go buy clothes, I can go get a discount. So it's like with the like you said, the 50, 30, 20 as well, what you want as well, you can also, you know, you might even not even spend that much because of all the discounts as well, which is even better for you because you can put more in savings too. You also said you do a lot of entrepreneurial stuff as well, like within your [00:00:00] Speaker 2: Like social media in that. What kind of ways would you like as a student make money at university? Like, what advice would you give? [00:00:06][6.0] Speaker 3: Yeah. One thing I want to start by saying is that university is like a big networking session. Okay, so when you come in, you'll meet all sorts of people from across the UK. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 3: You meet internationals as well. People coming from China, Kenya. People have money, so it's going to be services. So building a big network, building a big group of friends that will help you push whatever business or sales you want to start in the future. So you put in your story and people will be interested. So in terms of entrepreneurship, definitely first off, just network. Make as much friends as you can because you never know when you might need someone in life just to have that. Just so you never know where if something comes up, you can then provide that service. If you become a barber, if you want to do any sort of, you know, shoe cleaning service, whatever works, at least you have the connection because again, you have a lot of people. Once you leave uni is you go more of your way to make friends, but in you need like the loss of a junior life where friends are coming in abundance. Yeah. Now in terms of actual specific hustles for anyone starting uni where you can do it alongside your studies. There's many. But one thing I advocate for is is buying and selling, buying, reselling. Simply you're buying something for a low price where you're supporting a different market and you go into another market to resell high value. Speaker 1: You could and whilst like you know you're studying. Speaker 2: And it's quite easy online now of apps like vinted and stuff where you can actually buy things quite cheap. And so I feel like definitely and like you said, with like connections and stuff like this uni especially I don'tt know about any of this obviously, but the, the connections that we have are like phenomenal here, especially like online too, with like LinkedIn and stuff like that. All social media, like you said, it's just like a really good opportunity to like broaden your connections. Speaker 3: One thing I just want to say, it's like I think with uni, especially with the cost of living crisis. I feel like finances is a game of football. Speaker 2: Yes. Speaker 3: the analogy I'm gonna say, essentially saving is like defending. Speaker 2: Yes. Speaker 3: You're sticking back. You're putting all your defense in a line. You don't want no one to score any goals. You don't want to spend any money. You wanna reduce the weight. But then to win the football game, you need to attack, you need to score. Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. Speaker 3: So attacking is going out your way to make money. Speaker 2: Mhm. Speaker 3: So sometimes you know, sometimes you may be stuck in, you know, exam, stress, and what not and you know and having to worry about money as well can also, you know, have an impact. Speaker 2: It's just stressful isn't it. Speaker 3: I think the best, sometimes the best way is to make more money so then you don't have to worry as much. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 3: You don't have to be scrambling pennies and making sure things work. But yeah, you know, even getting a part time job starting a side hustle and entrepreneurship scheme. That will definitely help when it comes to budgeting because um. Yeah. So yeah. Speaker 1: So obviously you said that you had a job in like your first year of uni, so would you say that helped out a lot with what? Speaker 3: Yeah. Most definitely. Well, most definitely, definitely helped out, because I was able to live uni the way I wanted to live it. Speaker 2: Yeah, and I actually experience it rather. Speaker 1: Like go out and have your fun and stuff. Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. It was never, it was never an issue of, you know not being able to pay rent or whatnot Speaker 2: So yeah. Speaker 1: It's always it's always good to erm just have a... oh I had the side hustle that was good enough for me so. Speaker 2: Well that's quite good. And so you actually, like you planned ahead, you're more of a planner rather than a last minute. I'd say I'm more of a last minute person, but I'm slowly starting to budget because I've been that last minute. Now I'm like, oh, yeah. I should actually, like, plan ahead. I feel that's pretty good advice from you. Like, you know, make your way into getting more money so that you don't have to, you know, worry as much. And you can also learn it's just like the stress free vibes of it as well. It'll be much nicer when you don't have to worry as much. Speaker 1: So, Poku, we've actually been sent in some questions regarding finances at university. So the first one we've got here is how do I make sure that I eat cheaply but healthily as well? I only have one or two cheap meals that I can make, but both of them contain pasta. Speaker 3: Mhm. Yeah. That's, that's one problem I encountered during uni because yeah, pasta you know is quick and easy and healthy to make. But the problem is you need variety sometimes. Speaker 1: Definitely. Speaker 1: It just gets a little bit daunting when you're eating the same thing over and over again. So my best advice, is you know your best friend is YouTube and Google. Make use of YouTube and Google. There are plenty and plenty of recipes online, plenty of YouTube videos, TikToks of people, you know, making different recipes and whatnot. So there's definitely other things out there you can look into. But definitely, yes, spice it up because when you don't spice it up you'll then order. Speaker 2: Yeah, you get bored and be like 'I want some more of this'. Speaker 3: You know, so you have the pasta but then there's many variations of pasta as well. Bulk cook, you know, maybe batch cook, do that butthere's many variations there's creamy pasta , there's pasta with tomatoes. Like you can make... Speaker 2: Yeah spaghetti bolognese Speaker 1: There's different pasta shapes as well. You've got like penne, tagliatelle. Speaker 2: Well. Yeah, that's what we do. We eat the same meal, but we'll just change the pasta shape and it just makes the meal completely different. [All laugh] Yeah, but no, I think that's like, really important as well. And also like, um, if you go online now there's so many, like, accounts online like, like yours who like, help students and there'll be some that do slow cooker meals or like here's how to like bulk, like you said bulk um, cook your stuff and all that. So it's like really helpful like that. You have social media nowadays because loads of them teach us how to cook on a budget really, especially with the cost living crisis food is like very expensive now even from the cheaper shops like it's a bit pricey but yeah. Speaker 3: And also pick... get familiar with your area, find out where the cheapest shop is.But I feel like it's a mix of location and price. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 3: So like let's say there's Aldi a few miles away. That means you may have to get an Uber to carry your stuff back. Maybe even though it might be cheaper to shop. Speaker 1: In the long run. You might be spending more. Speaker 3: Yeah, the travel may add up. Speaker 2: So that's what we had as well because we have an Asda near us. But to get to and from the Asda, that would cost £20 in an Uber but but the minimum price online is £40 so you have to kind of whittle away at the pros and the cons. We were like, well we could spend a £30 shop, but then it would have to come up to £50. But because of the Uber, feel like we're just gonna have to get more money on shopping and then get the delivery over. So it's like, really, you have to let go and do your research essentially to like, look for it. But yeah, I've got another question here. It says, How much does a uni student normally spend per week? How much should I budget for? Now, I don't know about that one because I guess it means, every week is kind of different in universities and it's not like you have the same week over and over again because you have so many different experiences, so many opportunities, and now you've got, like you said earlier, all these new connections and stuff. You're not going to be doing the same things that you did at home. You'll be travelling the country. We're going to see other friends at university. So I think it really depends on what you have planned. Speaker 1: It could really be hit or miss, what if, you know, you're sat in a lecture every day, you probably wouldn't be spending that much money over the week because obviously you'll just go into actual uni. But then it's like, what if that was a week where you only had two lectures in the week? Obviously you're going to want to go out and do stuff like in the days that you're not doing anything because otherwise it's just going to be sad and bored. Speaker 2: Now how would you say that we can budget for that realistically? Speaker 3: Budget for it? Speaker 2: Yeah, Budget for our weekly spend kind of. Speaker 1: Just like maybe activities you could do or. Yeah. Speaker 3: Yeah, no. Again, when it comes to budgeting, it does require some sort of due diligence and research, for example, let's say I have a date. Me, I'll look for a bowling place that allows student discounts so for me to go, it's a student ticket, so it's cheaper for me. I look ahead and plan for that. And only that, you know, for transport and whatnot. Yeah, I'll just say simply just make sure it all fits within your, you know, hemisphere, your world. So make sure it's cheap for you, Make sure it makes sense for your finances, but then also make sure there's value from it. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 3: So, yeah, I mean, but also you also need to develop the habit of saying no sometimes. Speaker 2: Sometimes, yeah. Speaker 3: Some people are on the same wavelength and you some people may want to go out, you know, during your exam week, you know, you've got things to do. So sometimes you can say no. And remember, there's always going to be a next party there's always... Speaker 1: Yeah definitely. Speaker 3: Always gonna be a next one. you know, it's always going to be the next one. You know there's never ever Oh yeah. This is a once in a life opportunity. Speaker 2: Exactly. Speaker 3: Every year, there's always new fresher's. Speaker 2: To be fair, that's like you always asking me to go out. I end up going anyway because I love Ethan so much [laughs]. But I feel like I should. If I want my weekly budget to be bigger, I might just stop hanging out with Ethan [all laugh]. But no, I think that's really important, especially like looking for student discount places. But yeah, I'd say like every every week is different. I don't think I've had... other than being in university at the start where we just had the same sort of schedule. I wouldn't say every weeks been the same like we usually had like all Tuesday nights going out. But then, like, so many people will ask you, do this, let's go do this. So I'd really say be flexible about it. Speaker 1: There's also like a lot of variety of things that you can do aswell. Speaker 2: Yeah. You can just sit down and do nothing and watch movies and stuff like, you know, you don't have to go out. Speaker 2: You can have like, you know, nights where you do go clubbing, but then it's like you can have nights where you just say, no, go sit in a park and look at the stars or something. Speaker 2: or like we will come back and bake cookies or something like that. Where like it's really flexible. I'd you've got to be realistic about, you know, what you spend on it. Speaker 3: Yeah, definitely be flexible. And yeah, just remember, personal finance is personal to you, so. Speaker 2: Yeah. Speaker 3: so what makes sense for me, may not make sense for you. What I like to do may not be what you like to do. So yeah, as long as it makes sense for you, your finances and your savings and investments. This is all good. It's all good. So, I mean, it should make sense and it works. Speaker 1: And then erm so we've got our last one here, it says looking into budgeting at uni and student finance loans and it seems to be daunting. Do you have any tips for people that feel anxious when it comes to finances? Speaker 3: Yeah, anxious, ok, cool. So I say, I think the first step is just simply facing yourself, so how much does it cost to be you? Let's say, you know, I want wanted to be you from next week. Speaker 2: Well, I'm not very high maintenance. That's quite easy, just be low maintenance. Speaker 3: That's great, because you know exactly how much it costs to be you. So if I wanted to be, you can tell me a price, I'm going to be like, ok cool, is this worth it? Can I afford this? And then you make your payments or what not. Some people don't know how much it costs to be them, they know if they are expensive or not, they don't know what they come with, what they are looking out for. Understand yourself, how much does it cost to be you. You know, nowadays a lot of things are automated nowadays, Monzo, Starling, they allow you to budget on the app and they track your expenses. I use Money Dashboard Neon, so essentially that helps collate all your bank cards and expenses all into one app, so you can find out how much you spend per month. And knowing that, when you know how much you spend per month on average, you know how to budget for future months. I spend on an average, you know, £700, £800, £1,000 per month. Cool so for the next three months, that's going to be £3,000 and I need to make sure I've got that. Speaker 2: Got it already saved up and all that. Speaker 3: Yeah, or you have money, you know that money's coming in, that will pay for whatever's coming up. So, if you're anxious, find out yourself, face your bank account, becasue that's the real you, so just to make sure you face it, find out about yourself, don't be scared to look at it. But then secondly, start talking about money, I don't know why it's a taboo. I don't know why people want to be, you know, scared, it's cool to talk about money because again, it helps, you don't want to be stressed about any financial pressures. Have a friend you can talk to about it. I'm pretty sure we all have close friends that we can all to talk about problems and they can give you a different perspective about how you can then get through the issue that you're currently in. Speak to your tutors, speak to your uni, speak to your parents, just don't be scared, don't keep it to yourself. Speaker 2: Well, exactly, because everyone's going through the same thing, especially in university. I'd say, even those who had more money at home, you're not getting as much financial support when you come to uni, and especially if you live far away because you're only getting the small amount of finance that you get from the university. But then at home you might not they might not send over as much as you think they might and, you know, you're actually doing more things than you thought you would. I guess it's like maybe just be realistic about, you are going to struggle and everyone struggles at university for like finance, but it's short lived, but it figures itself out and you know, there's no use dwelling on it and being so anxious by it all the time, you'll be fine. Money does come back eventually, that's one of my little mantras that I live by. Speaker 1 But I feel like, you know, that's already like a massive stigma around, like money and talking about, say, being in debt and stuff like that. But then like, you know, you mix it with that your student and you know, people might not be as independent or as much as they want to be themselves, you know, such a young age, so like they won't really feel confident in talking and stuff about that. So like, I feel like, you know, everyone just kind of needs to realise that you know, hey, we're all in the same boat. Speaker 2 Yeah, exactly. Speaker 1 You're not alone, we're all kind of, we're in this together really. Speaker 2 Well, yeah, exactly I'd just say don't be anxious at all. There's obviously the fears and stuff like that, but everyone is just as nervous as you are and like, there are loads of support systems around as well, especially with the university, we've obviously got the financing team here as well and like you said, personal tutors, you've also got the SSA team here and we do give like grants and stuff out of the university as well. So like definitely, you know, get support, get help, there's always people to support you round there. Speaker 3 One hundred percent, just start talking about it because when you keep it to yourself, the problems build up in your head, you get more stressed and then it then starts to affect everything around you. Speaker 2 Yeah, exactly. Speaker 3 Friendships, it can affect your grades, relationships and you don't want that. Speaker 2 No, exactly. Speaker 3 When you speak about something, it's like a weight lift off your shoulders. Speaker 3 Yeah. Speaker 3 You know, obviously I get it, some people like to keep things to themselves but I say start early before it gets too big, it gets too embarrassing to share it, you know? Speaker 3 Yeah, exactly. Speaker 3 Just get help, is fine. There's nothing wrong with, you know, asking for help, you know? So, yeah. Speaker 2 So that's all we have time for today, unfortunately. But send in your questions for next time on any of BCU's social media channels, and we will answer them in the future episodes. So, Poku, thank you once again for coming in, we've really enjoyed it. Can you just let everyone know where we can find you online? Speaker 3 I appreciate it and thank you guys for inviting me down. I've just left uni so it's good to spread on the wisdom and the knowledge. If I make a mistake, it's good that I can then push that on so it prevents other people listening to this from making mistakes. But where you can find me, @pokubanks on all platforms Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok. Speaker 1 Lovely, and then if any of you are looking for practical guides to starting uni, you can find them on the BCU website. There's everything from studying tips to a budget planner on there, so you can have a look at all of those before you start uni. [25:17:16] Speaker 3 Thank you guys!