Managing a student budget

Managing a student budget

Your finances are not an infinite resource! Your maintenance loan and grant payments, if granted, will be paid into your bank account intermittently, usually tying in with the start of term or thereabouts. So making sure you don’t run out of money between payments is vital. You can achieve this by managing your student budget.

What is a budget?
Budgeting is a useful skill whereby you tally up all of your potential outgoings and marry them up with your incoming money. You can’t spend more money than you receive!

What do I include in my budget?
You need to think about the following day to day living costs:

  • Rent and Bills – this includes contents insurance, mobile phones, internet, gas and  electricity.
  • Food and Housekeeping – so things like laundry detergent etc.
  • Transport– depending on how you get around you will need petrol, insurance, bus passes, bicycle locker hire etc.
  • Books/Stationery– can’t forget about those pencils! As well as those pens, notepads, folders etc.
  • Sports, Leisure and Socialising– keeping fit and socialising is important, just stick to your planned budget!
  • Childcare costs

Remember to leave a little ‘emergency’ money for unexpected costs, such as:

  • Library Fines
  • Loss of bus pass/car breaking down
  • Loss or theft of mobile phone or computer
  • Computer technical issues

Student Bank Accounts
It is also advisable to open a Student Bank Account. Not only are generous overdrafts and free gifts available (depending on the bank), they are often convenient, free and easy to use. For more information on this, check out our previous blog on Student Bank Accounts- the essentials.

Be sure to take care when managing overdrafts and/or credit cards. They are a helpful resource if you need them, but be sure to pay back what you owe to avoid mounting any debts.

It’s also sensible to put money aside each month as savings. Want to go to that fantastic festival this summer? Want those brand new trainers? Time to save for them! If you make too many unexpected purchases in a month, you may struggle with your budget. Plus, whatever you spend extra you’ll have to make up for next month. Instead, it’s best to put a little bit of money aside each month for these more expensive treats.

More than that, your savings can act as rainy day money; if you need to unexpectedly go back home for example, you’ll be able to afford it without impacting on your budget.

Budget Resources
If you need a helping hand, or a fun, convenient app or planner, check out the free resources on offer below:

UCAS Budget Calculator
Money Dashboard
Brightside Student Calculator
Which? University Student Finance Advice