Going to uni is a big deal and that’s without having to deal with your own student budget. The first step in taking control of your student finances, is to work out your student budget and we will show you how to below.
You should be aware that your student loan is paid into your bank account in three instalments at the start of each term. These payments are designed to last for the whole term so in order to not panic about having no money towards the end and having to go back to your parent/guardian begging for extra money or (even worse) turning to credit, you will need to budget.
1. Know how much your student loan instalments will be along with any other income you may have
Some other income may be:
2. Work out how much money you will have going out, such as rent, money for books, bills, internet, etc
Separate them into categories such as:
Monthly bills (some are dependent on whether your bills are included in your accommodation fees)
3. Subtract your outgoings from your income and divide by the number of weeks during the term. That figure is how much you will have to live off for clothing, socialising etc and any big outgoings such as Christmas, birthdays, etc
Obviously old school methods are always available (hello, paper and pen) and a good old Excel spreadsheet could be the method for you, however why not use your mobile phone?
There are some great apps out there to download and use on the go. Have a look in your app store – ensure that the app you are using is reputable so do your research first! Some great ones are Yolt, Money Dashboard or check out some other suggestions here.
Many students acquire a part time job whilst they are at university, such as bar work, retail, etc. Some work over the holidays too as temp workers. If you earn less than the minimum tax threshold per year (currently £12,570 as of April 2021), you are exempt from paying tax. You may need to reclaim tax via HMRC if you have been paid via PAYE because you will be automatically taxed.
Check out our blog post here which explains what these are and how you can save money with minimum effort.
Studying can be expensive and that’s without paying the fees! Most courses will require you to buy textbooks and some of these are extortionate.
However, you do not have to buy new textbooks. Options such as renting, borrowing, sharing textbooks are all out there!
Your university will have a library which may have copies at your disposal. Some former students may be selling at a discounted price – ensure that you are checking department noticeboards, Amazon and selling sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Ebay. Charity shops could also be a good shout. Independent online booksellers may also have copies of the textbooks at a discounted price.
We’re talking discounted food labels! Embrace the yellow ticket life, shop towards the end of the day, don’t ignore certain food items if they are close to their use by dates – food items can be frozen.
Plan your food for the week and never go to the supermarket without a list or when you are hungry!
There are ways to boost your income whilst as a student by not doing much. Read our blog post series here about ways in which to boost that income.
For a lot of people, dealing with a budget at 18 years old is one of the first times that you will have ever had to manage your own money.
If you find yourself nearing the end of term without a penny left then there are places to turn.
Speak to your family who may be in a position to help out. This can be a difficult conversation to have, especially if you are trying to prove that you can stand on your own two feet, but family are there to help.
Speak to your university tutor who will point you in the right direction within the university itself. There may be hardship funds or grants available to you.
A big warning from us to you – never go to a payday lender. We know that this is tempting but large interest rates are charged and you could get into financial trouble very easily.