Student budgeting


The Basics

  • Get online. If you bank online you can easily see your balance and any ingoing/outgoings at a glance. You can also arrange your direct debits/standing orders and cancel cheques.

Know your income

  • Know how much money you have coming in each month from your loan and other sources such as a job, parental assistance, bursaries, grants.

Know your expenditure

  • Subtract from your income any fixed regular outgoings to obtain the amount you have left: things like accommodation, internet in your room (often overlooked), tv license, phone contract.
  • Divide this by the number of weeks per term/year to obtain the figure for the maximum you have left to spend each week.
  • From this figure, subtract an amount for essential food items and a book/stationery allowance.

Work out what you have to play with

  • You now have the maximum amount you have to spend each week on non-essential items.
  • Endeavour to spend less than this!
  • Keep your receipts for everything for a week or two once term has really got going, spend an hour or two working out exactly where cash is going. If you spend too much on any one item (drink, coffees, magazines, sandwiches, etc.) try and cut back.
  • You will soon get the hang of how much you can spend and get away with, but for the first few weeks make detailed notes of everything you spend.

Keep a contingency
It is important to remember that there are occasions on which you may unexpectedly have to spend a large amount of money. Text books are expensive and If you aren’t careful nights out can cost large amounts too. There are balls and events you may wish to go to, so remember to save a bit for them. It is always good to save money as a contingency.

If you get into trouble

  • Let your bank know as soon as possible. They may be able to help.
  • If you are in severe financial difficulty you can apply for Access Funds and hardship loans. Check with your University for more details.
  • You can get free confidential professional money advice from the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service on 0800 138 1111.

See Also