Freshers’ Guide to Budgeting

One of the hardest things about moving away from home and to uni is budgeting. Our guide will teach you everything you need to know about budgeting in your first year!

Although you have the freedom to eat whatever you want, go out whenever you want and stay in bed all day without anybody having a go at you, you also have to take ownership of your own financial situation too.

Lots of students tend to spend all their student budget in the first few weeks of starting uni, leaving them to scrimp until they receive their next lot of student finance, which is usually at the start of each term (this means 2 and a half months of living on beans on toast and hardly any nights out).

To avoid this happening follow our step-by-step guide:

1. Work out your incomings and outgoings


Work out how much money you will be receiving from your student loan, bursary, part time work and help from your family and how much of this will go on your phone bill, rent, household bills, household items such as laundry powder and toilet roll etc. and how much you will need for food and nights out.

UCAS have a really handy Budget Calculator that can help you work out your incomings and outgoings. Or you can create a student budget spreadsheet by working your incomings and outgoings out yourself.

2. Decide where to keep your money


Open up a student account, these accounts usually have interest free overdrafts which could really help you out on a rainy day. But ensure you read and understand the repayment agreement before opening your account.

Choose the account right for you, some banks offer free railcards, others, interest-free overdrafts.


3. Be realistic

Be-realisticYou’re not only going to spend £10 on food a week, when you start getting to know other people they may want to go out for food which will cost at least £5 for the one meal. Set realistic expectations of how much disposable income you will need.

4. Stick to your budget


This is crucial to surviving financially in your first year! The best way to stick to your budget is to:

  • Avoid doing huge food shops
  • Buy non-branded items at supermarkets
  • Always keep in mind how quickly small purchases can add up
  • Avoid impulse buying
  • Make the most of student discounts
  • Drink before a night out (although we don’t encourage heavy drinking)!

We have lots of financial support available, feel free to contact us.