How much money will I need to live at uni? Watch

Retired_Messiah
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(Original post by Dannyboy2015)
Lol, 2 packs of tomatoes (75p each = £1.50) - 1 pack of mixed root veg (£1) (bcos you need more than tomato for tomato soup), 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (£1 each = £2) (bcos 2 packs of tomato is not enough), tomato puree (the garlic one, so I don't need to buy garlic) (55p) and some vegetable stock (£1.20).

Totals at: £6.25 which is less than £10 admittedly. Also I suppose it does make enough for 3 soups. So yeah.... Fair point. xD
Packs of tomatoes granted, the fresh boys are a bit of an expense. Cans of chopped tomatoes will have a value equivalent, which in tesco will come to about 30p each, turning a £2 expense into a 60p one (having tried both varieties of canned, they are exactly the same). What's in the bag of root veg, and how big is it? Could work out cheaper to buy the fresh veg individually and use them for multiple different meal ideas. And what sort of stock are you going for? Would making it outta cubes work for you?

Usually helps to pop to the shops with multiple meals in mind so you can bulk buy veg for making multiple things. £6.25 for 3 meals out of the 21 you need a week isn't the most ideal thing in the world if that soup's genuinely all you're making out of your purchase.

Not a budgeting point but a culinary one: is there any seasoning n herbs in this or are you genuinely just relying on the garlic and the stock to add depth of flavour here?
(Original post by JavaScriptMaster)
If I only had £20 a week for food I'd be dead by tea
how are you people students
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SophieTurtle
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My mum is a single parent and in a low income bracket so I've been quite lucky that I've received the full maintenance loan and grant from Student Finance for the first 4 years of my course. I also got a bursary from my university due to the low parental income. For my first 4 years of university I didn't really have to worry about money for the necessities, but I knew that in my final year (this year) I would have to rely solely on the NHS bursary and a much smaller loan from student finance. So basically, I've been budgeting since first year.

The costs you need to consider include:
- Rent - this will depend on where you live and how many people you share with but can also vary depending on how fussy you are about location/size/facilities
- Bills - electric, gas, water, TV licence, internet - if you're in halls these are probably included, but you'll have to think about these if you're renting. I pay about £50 in bills per month but it might be cheaper/more expensive with different suppliers etc.
- Travel - If you drive then you need to think about petrol costs, car insurance, MOT, breakdown cover etc. If you'll regularly be getting the bus/train, then it might be worth getting a pass so you can save money in the long term. Walking is free so if you can do that, you can save money.
- Food - Lots of discussion already. But I tend to do one big shop at the beginning of term and stock up on pasta, rice, cans of tomatoes, porridge oats, and anything that can stay in the freezer for months. I also buy the biggest packs of chicken breasts and mince beef I can find then split them into portion sizes and freeze them when I get home. This shop usually costs me about £50. For my weekly shops, I plan my meals for the week in advance and just get the fresh vegetables/fruit/milk/bread that I need for what I've planned. This can easily be less than £20 if you can stop yourself from buying crisps/chocolate/biscuits/ice cream. You can also make food shopping cheaper by going to cheaper supermarkets like Lidl/Aldi if there's one nearby. Meat-free meals also tend to be cheaper. I alternate between meat-based meals and meat-free meals.

The above are probably the necessities, but you're also going to have to budget for other things:
- Education costs - You'll probably need to buy some stationery, e.g. pens/paper, unless you already have a laptop and will be using that to take notes. Textbooks usually aren't necessary to buy. Most of them are probably in the library or available from the library as ebooks, so I'd only buy the ones you use regularly that aren't available from the library.
- Clothes - As long as your clothes are still in one piece and you know how to use a washing machine you can probably survive without making weekly Asos orders. However, you might still need to budget for necessary clothing costs, e.g. smart clothes for work, new shoes when your old ones fall apart, winter coat etc.
- Entertainment - University life is often just as much about socialising as it is studying. I'm not saying you should go out every night, but if you can put some money aside each month for the odd cinema trip/night out/brunch date/pizza party then you won't feel like you're missing out all the time because you don't have enough money.

Ways to increase your income include:
- Jobs - Lots of discussion already. If you can get a summer job before uni which will let you stay on a zero hours contract for the rest of uni you can save up quite a lot. I was working at my local Boots up to 6 days a week for a couple of summers and saved up loads. But, again, you'll need to balance having a job with actually enjoying life. If your uni timetable is very low on contact hours you can apply for day jobs close to the university, e.g. supermarkets, coffee shops etc. Basically, apply to everything and give your CV to everyone. If you have more contact hours you might be restricted to working weekends/nights, but if you have a really full on course with no spare time to work, then you can usually sign up to the Careers place on campus. They might have jobs available where you don't have to commit to a set number of hours, e.g. campus tours on open days, helping out at graduations etc.
- Bursaries - Most universities will have bursaries or hardship funds if you're really struggling for money. I wouldn't include this money in your budget, but if you can find out what is available and whether you'd be eligible, then it might be nice to know it's there if you get desperate
- Loans/overdraft/credit cards - If you're sensible with your money and know you will be able to pay them back, then these can be helpful in the short term, e.g. the last couple of weeks before your next student finance payment. But I would not rely on them. Having loads of debt is just going to stress you out, especially if your only income is the student finance loans.
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henryf8
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#43
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(Original post by SophieTurtle)
My mum is a single parent and in a low income bracket so I've been quite lucky that I've received the full maintenance loan and grant from Student Finance for the first 4 years of my course. I also got a bursary from my university due to the low parental income. For my first 4 years of university I didn't really have to worry about money for the necessities, but I knew that in my final year (this year) I would have to rely solely on the NHS bursary and a much smaller loan from student finance. So basically, I've been budgeting since first year.

The costs you need to consider include:
- Rent - this will depend on where you live and how many people you share with but can also vary depending on how fussy you are about location/size/facilities
- Bills - electric, gas, water, TV licence, internet - if you're in halls these are probably included, but you'll have to think about these if you're renting. I pay about £50 in bills per month but it might be cheaper/more expensive with different suppliers etc.
- Travel - If you drive then you need to think about petrol costs, car insurance, MOT, breakdown cover etc. If you'll regularly be getting the bus/train, then it might be worth getting a pass so you can save money in the long term. Walking is free so if you can do that, you can save money.
- Food - Lots of discussion already. But I tend to do one big shop at the beginning of term and stock up on pasta, rice, cans of tomatoes, porridge oats, and anything that can stay in the freezer for months. I also buy the biggest packs of chicken breasts and mince beef I can find then split them into portion sizes and freeze them when I get home. This shop usually costs me about £50. For my weekly shops, I plan my meals for the week in advance and just get the fresh vegetables/fruit/milk/bread that I need for what I've planned. This can easily be less than £20 if you can stop yourself from buying crisps/chocolate/biscuits/ice cream. You can also make food shopping cheaper by going to cheaper supermarkets like Lidl/Aldi if there's one nearby. Meat-free meals also tend to be cheaper. I alternate between meat-based meals and meat-free meals.

The above are probably the necessities, but you're also going to have to budget for other things:
- Education costs - You'll probably need to buy some stationery, e.g. pens/paper, unless you already have a laptop and will be using that to take notes. Textbooks usually aren't necessary to buy. Most of them are probably in the library or available from the library as ebooks, so I'd only buy the ones you use regularly that aren't available from the library.
- Clothes - As long as your clothes are still in one piece and you know how to use a washing machine you can probably survive without making weekly Asos orders. However, you might still need to budget for necessary clothing costs, e.g. smart clothes for work, new shoes when your old ones fall apart, winter coat etc.
- Entertainment - University life is often just as much about socialising as it is studying. I'm not saying you should go out every night, but if you can put some money aside each month for the odd cinema trip/night out/brunch date/pizza party then you won't feel like you're missing out all the time because you don't have enough money.

Ways to increase your income include:
- Jobs - Lots of discussion already. If you can get a summer job before uni which will let you stay on a zero hours contract for the rest of uni you can save up quite a lot. I was working at my local Boots up to 6 days a week for a couple of summers and saved up loads. But, again, you'll need to balance having a job with actually enjoying life. If your uni timetable is very low on contact hours you can apply for day jobs close to the university, e.g. supermarkets, coffee shops etc. Basically, apply to everything and give your CV to everyone. If you have more contact hours you might be restricted to working weekends/nights, but if you have a really full on course with no spare time to work, then you can usually sign up to the Careers place on campus. They might have jobs available where you don't have to commit to a set number of hours, e.g. campus tours on open days, helping out at graduations etc.
- Bursaries - Most universities will have bursaries or hardship funds if you're really struggling for money. I wouldn't include this money in your budget, but if you can find out what is available and whether you'd be eligible, then it might be nice to know it's there if you get desperate
- Loans/overdraft/credit cards - If you're sensible with your money and know you will be able to pay them back, then these can be helpful in the short term, e.g. the last couple of weeks before your next student finance payment. But I would not rely on them. Having loads of debt is just going to stress you out, especially if your only income is the student finance loans.
Thanks this is really useful I will refer back to this
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Lilligant22
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#44
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£20 is doable but I think a struggle. It's not very comfortable but you can afford tins and other easy meals. It's a bit boring but you can save up for going out and affording better food.
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Smartzie
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Don't borrow. Budget. Shop at Aldi. Put cash to one side for the week...when it's gone go for a run, play the guitar, get a diary/sketchbook and be creative...it costs nothing and is wonderful. Next week's cash will come and save you.🙂
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Smartzie
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89p at Aldi...delish 🙂
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Acsel
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(Original post by Smartzie)
Don't borrow. Budget. Shop at Aldi. Put cash to one side for the week...when it's gone go for a run, play the guitar, get a diary/sketchbook and be creative...it costs nothing and is wonderful. Next week's cash will come and save you.🙂
That's nothing but wishful thinking. Borrowing for a student loan is unavoidable, you can't just budget £9250 a year for tuition fees and £6000+ to live on. And even with a loan, OP still works out that they're £1300 short after budgeting. When you don't have enough money, the solution is to get more money, not try and stretch what you have as far as it'll go.

Also since when did playing the guitar or getting a diary/sketchbook cost nothing?
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Smartzie
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Try a positive thought. I know that takes effort...sigh.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Smartzie)
Try a positive thought. I know that takes effort...sigh.
In the real world, positive thinking doesn't pay the bills.
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sophia5892
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£20 a week is certainly doable - I'm lucky that at the moment that I don't need to budget my food shop and can and do just buy what I want.

To give an idea, I just spent £95 on an internet shop that'll last me at least a month. I expect I'll probably spend around an extra £20 - £30 supplementing it with additional fresh products like milk etc.

And that £95 includes.... £12 on ice cream, £15 on fizzy drinks, £6 on crisps, £1.50 on my favourite bag of cookies etc... so lots of overspend on non-essentials/treat items I could do without!

Being disabled most of my meals are of the frozen and ready to just throw in the oven variety as I can't really cook things with fresh ingredients from scratch, which likely would work out cheaper. I bulk buy things on offer when I can (3 of us sharing so have to be mindful of space!), and always keep a stock of cheap essentials in the cupboard (tins, pasta, noodles, sauce mix etc.)
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stoyfan
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(Original post by henryf8)
I've just taken a student finance calculator and found I would have -2000 a year. So then I refilled it out and tried to reduce costs. Is £20 a week enough money for food? I changed my costs to £20 a week for food and virtually removed most other costs as I know I wouldn't be able to afford the, however I still am -1,300 a year. Any suggestion on how much money I will need weekly/monthly for certain things and how I am supposed to live on minus funds?
Thanks
Have you asked your parents? The point of the student loans is that the parents would have to contribute, in addition to the government.

It is just that poeple will higher income would have to contribute more than other families as they are more able to do so.
Last edited by stoyfan; 1 week ago
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Acsel
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(Original post by stoyfan)
How so?
People with a houshold income of more than 65k will get 4000 quid in student maintanence loans.
I would imagine they have rent to pay and even after factoring in £20 per week for food it comes to £5300 or more, which after the £4000 (or whatever they get) leaves them in the red.

When they say they used a student finance calculator and got -£2000, I assume that calculation was based on how much they'll get and how much they'll spend. Granted we don't have that information to verify (I think I requested earlier in the thread but it's not been posted).
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stoyfan
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(Original post by Acsel)
I would imagine they have rent to pay and even after factoring in £20 per week for food it comes to £5300 or more, which after the £4000 (or whatever they get) leaves them in the red.

When they say they used a student finance calculator and got -£2000, I assume that calculation was based on how much they'll get and how much they'll spend. Granted we don't have that information to verify (I think I requested earlier in the thread but it's not been posted).
I realised my mistake just after I posted. I updated m post.
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(Original post by henryf8)
I've just taken a student finance calculator and found I would have -2000 a year. So then I refilled it out and tried to reduce costs. Is £20 a week enough money for food? I changed my costs to £20 a week for food and virtually removed most other costs as I know I wouldn't be able to afford the, however I still am -1,300 a year. Any suggestion on how much money I will need weekly/monthly for certain things and how I am supposed to live on minus funds?
Thanks
Go to your local asian shop, buy a big sack of rice like the massive ones, buy a rice bin, empty the rice into a bin. Problem solved
But yeh £20 on food a week is definitely doable if you dont eat out often. But yeh get a part time job, get your parents to divorce so you can get a bigger loan, apply for scholarships, sell pics of your feet to creeps on the internet (my friend sold a pic of her foot for £35 lol)
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swelshie
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You can more or less self-fund through university by working over the summers + loan. I typically worked up to 55hrs a week between semesters. With min wage+time and a half after 40 hours, earned about £4-5k whilst not spending a lot living at home.

Lived in halls>went back to parents and worked >back to uni>rented out my room to an exchange student>studied abroad>back to summer job etc

Might not work if you have an unpaid placement year, or are unable to sublet idk.

Gets tricky nearer the end of your degree when you're expected to gain experience. Ironically the summer I worked as an undergraduate engineer I didn't have enough money to live on the rest of the year, had to get bailed out by parents for the difference in rent + transport for that summer. If I'd not gone abroad I probably would have had a couple grand more savings/leftover loan to last the final year.
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Acsel
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(Original post by swelshie)
Might not work if you have an unpaid placement year
Which to be fair most unis try and push students away from. Outside some niche exceptions (idk if there are any industries where unpaid placement years are normal), an unpaid placement is just a sign that the employer isn't valuing the time the student is putting in.

This also works the other way, a paid placement year takes away the worries of funding final year, while also providing valuable work experience.
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KiwiBanana22
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Blimey Danny, you are living like a king!
(Original post by Dannyboy2015)
Lol, I'm a food snob I think. I spend £50-70 a week on food.
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Anonymous #1
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Would recommend all students watch eat well for less! Buy the basics brands, buy in bulk, meal prep, make a lot and freeze it for later 20 quid is completely doable if you dont eat out a lot.
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Retired_Messiah
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(Original post by stoyfan)
It is just that poeple will higher income would have to contribute more than other families as they are more able to do so
In theoorrryy but as it only takes income and not expenses into account this isn't always how it works. You might not have the disposable income available to yeet to your kids if a lot of your income is going on credit card debt, for example.
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karcia.
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I was in a similar situation. I didn't get the maintenance loan at all, because I'm from the EU. My parents couldn't help me either. I only received a scholarship from my uni worth £2000/year. And that was it.

Throughout the whole summer before my first year I was working. Firstly in KFC (but was not getting enough hours - around 10-15 per week, so I quit), and later in a factory (doing 40-50 hours a week). Getting a job in my uni town was *not* easy, there were plenty of students who also wanted a job. That's why I had to resort to working in a factory (I basically went to a job agency to get that job). I saved around 2-3K before the uni began.

Later on (after the uni started) I managed to get a job on campus. I was really lucky to get selected from a large pool of students, and I was really grateful that I could just be a cashier and not a factory worker lol. I was working around 10-15 hours a week during uni (including night shifts)

I was eating rice/pasta with cheap sauces from Aldi. Plenty of frozen food as well (usually cheaper than fresh stuff). I was tracking my spending with an app and I made sure that I don't spend more than £25 a week (on both food and 'special' items such as a toothpaste).

It's all doable. You just have to discipline yourself and be ready to work harder than your friends (sometimes missing out on parties). There's a virtue in that... I definitely had something to talk about in interviews afterwards.

And for the record, I had an equivalent of A*A*A*. Kinda felt that I deserve to go to uni as well, so I feel you... (but still, I ended up at a uni that offered the scholarship, and not, say, Oxbridge).
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