Creating a budget
So I have $360 per week. Of this $130 is immediately consumed by rent. At the moment I am living in halls of residence on the university campus which is pretty expensive. I'm planning on moving into private accommodation in December, which should work out a fair bit cheaper (perhaps $30-$40 per week). But for now I'm stuck with $130 per week rent.
The remaining $230 must cover everything else. For day to day expenses I have given myself a budget of $130 - to cover food, entertainment, etc. I'm saving the remaining $100. $25 of this goes into a holiday fund. The remaining $75 goes into long-term savings.
There is a bit of a short-coming with this budget in that there is no provision made for irregular (non-weekly) expenses. I am going to deal with this in the following way. If I can cover it within budget for day-to-day expenses I will. If not then initially I will use my long-term savings (not something I'll do willingly). In the longer term, however, I plan to try save a small amount of my $130 each week to build up an emergency buffer. This buffer should eventually remove the need to dip into my savings at all.
While my income is nothing fantastic, if all goes well I'll end up with a holiday fund, long-term savings and an emergency fund. I'll also develop the habit of living on $130 per week in expenses. When I graduate and (hopefully) get a real job, I'll be able to continue living on $130 and will be able to save the rest.
I developed this budget over a week ago (though after a couple of months of trial and error). The first week into my budget, despite being a relatively expensive week, I managed to come in $13 UNDER budget. I've placed this $13 into my emergency fund (which I was initially able to seed with about $200). So far so good.