Top 5 budgeting tips
I hope you are enjoying the summer holidays! Now, I won’t pretend to be a financial expert or anything, but if you are worried about budgeting at university, here are some tips that may help you get started with your budgeting:
Work out your income and disposable income
Your income is the amount of money you will have to spend. This will include things like your student loan, support from parents/guardians, any job you have had where you saved for university, etc.
Have an honest conversation with your parents/guardians about how much they are willing to support you financially at university. (If the answer is not at all, be sure to let student finance know as they will consider this when deciding how much money to give to you).
After calculating your total income, consider what your most important purchases will be (I appreciate you may not know the answer to this for sure yet). In my first year, this included things like my accommodation, food and travel costs (since if you live on campus in your first year, you won’t have to pay for things like gas and electricity).
Whatever amount is left after calculating your essential costs is the amount of money you can choose to spend or save (or a mixture of both). I recommend setting aside some money for social activities if you can. You may find that you spent a little more than expected during freshers week which is okay – there will be some weeks where you may not spend anything on social activities, and others where you may spend a little more.
Don’t use up your student finance as soon as it is received
I appreciate that this can be difficult to do if student finance is your sole source of income to fund your essential costs. However, try to avoid falling into the trap of spending it all on big purchases that you may not need as soon as it arrives in your bank. Consider what is and isn’t a necessity, and if you can, try to spread out your purchases just in case you need some money due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Keep a record of your spending
Whether you use an excel spreadsheet, a pen and paper, or a budget planner that does most of the work for you: https://www.ucas.com/budget-calculator try to keep a record of your spending so that you can revisit your budget easily. This is especially important in your first term or so at university where you are still getting used to knowing what is and isn’t essential for you (for many students, weekly POP! £4 is essential).
I don’t have much personal experience with Monzo (digital, mobile-only bank) but I have seen a lot of students using it to help with their budget. Something to look into if you are interested!
Have a routine
This will be a lot easier to plan once you have completed the first few weeks of university and have a better idea of your timetable. Simple things like knowing what day and approximate time you will do your Tesco shop (such as between two lectures where you have an hour gap) can really help with your budget. You don’t necessarily have to be super strict about this, but having an idea of when you will next visit the supermarket can be really helpful.
Make use of any student savings
Before university, you will probably be thinking about which bank to sign up for. Consider various student perks for each bank and decide which one will help you save the most. Additionally, once you are at university, check out what student discounts are available to you (such as via student beans or UniDAYS).
Best of luck! University is an incredible time!
Shanita 🙂 xo