Budgeting at University
One common thing people usually say they wish they knew before they came tot university is how to better manage their finances. Most UK students are eligible for student finance from the government, however, the amount of money you get varies depending on your household income. Regardless of how much money you get from your parents or the government, it is important to budget to make sure you don’t overspend and find yourself in financial trouble. Here are my top tips for money management.
Pay your rent at the beginning of term
If you are responsible for paying your rent, I would recommend that you pay it termly as student finance drops at the beginning of each term. This will allow you to see how much money you have remaining for the term and decide how to plan out your finances effectively.
Pick your priorities
Everyone has different priorities so it is important to pick these out so you can work out how much money to allocate to different things. The main categories of things you will need to spend money on include: food shopping, nights out/social events, course material, travel, takeaways and emergency money. Depending on the individual you may have more or fewer categories, for example you may have to pay for gym membership.
Weekly or monthly?
It is important to decide if you are going to budget on a weekly or monthly basis. There is no right answer, it depends on the person. Weekly budgets may allow you to be more precise and detailed whereas monthly budgets may work better for people who have regular monthly outgoings. Perhaps you have a job and get paid monthly so in that case monthly budgeting is more apt. Make sure you choose the best one to suit you and your lifestyle
Allocate money to different categories
Once you have decided on what you will spend your money on and which things more money will go to, you should estimate how much money to allocate to each category. I say estimate because you may actually get to university and realise that you need to spend a lot more on food, or that you don’t go out as much as expected. I also recommend to not use specific amount of money but rather give yourself a range (e.g. £25-30). This allows for flexibility which is important (see next point).
Months and weeks vary. Some weeks might be busier than others in terms of your social life. Or at the beginning of term you may have to spend a lot more on resources for your course. I advise being flexible so that you can always reallocate money if you over or underspend.
Get a part-time job
Getting a job can allow you to have a source of income which is really essential and helpful for some people. There are a range of jobs available on campus, however, they are usually very competitive as they are in high demand. Make sure to sign up for unitemps where you can find student jobs in and around the university.
I hope these tips have helped you in getting a better idea of how to budget at university!
There are many budgeting tools online that you may also find helpful!