The workshop is small, with two eager students present. One student has his notebook out, ready to write things down. The host Maninne Verkade is a volunteer and youth counsellor from Social Debt, a foundation based in Rotterdam helping people to repay their debts.

The start of the workshop is a moment to get to know each other. The students talk about their studies, their current or previous jobs. One of the questions is about how many vacations students went on with their parents as children. “The way my parents handle money is the way I handle money and it’s important to know how you grow up financially”, says Maninne.

Impulse purchases

Sebastian, a Creative Media and Business student, shares the social challenges he comes across when budgeting. “There is a hidden pressure, because you want to be able to go out for drinks and join friends.” “I have ADHD, so I sometimes do impulse purchases”, says Harper, a first year Psychology student about her own struggles. Jennifer Doest, who organised the workshop, shares her own burden. “I have student debt to pay off.”

Speaking from her own experiences, Maninne says: “I have learned to budget but it’s still difficult. I thought I needed every new face serum on the market.” The abundance of new products available makes it difficult to resist not buying anything. “Having more awareness helps me understand what to do”, says Maninne about her spending habits. She used to spend a lot of money on coffee and food from the shops at train stations, so she decided to start bringing food from home and stay away from those shops. When struggling to budget while going out with friends , Maninne pleas for honesty. “It’s good to be honest with your closest friends. They will be understanding”, she says.

Small amount left each month

At the end of the workshop, students take a quiz to find out what type of spender they are. It turns out that everyone present is a ‘cash splasher’ – someone who’s trying to budget, but doesn’t shy away from spending while going out.

Maninne shares budgeting apps such as Dyme and YNAB with the students, hoping to help them with their budgeting. “Even if it’s just 5 or 10 percent, make sure there is a small amount of money left each month.”

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