From education to employment

Finance expert shares top tips for budgeting while at university

1. Have a clear overview of your income stream

Before setting yourself a budget, you need to have a good idea of how much money you have available. Make sure you know exactly how much money you can expect to receive from your student loan, and factor in any extra income you may be receiving from other streams such as a part-time job, bursaries, or family support.

These funds could come in monthly, by term, or as one-off bulk payments so ensure you’ve worked out how many months you need this money to stretch across. When you’re not used to a large sum of money landing in your bank account, it may be tempting to start spending. However tempting it may be, it’s important to make sure you budget and ensure you have enough to cover your most important expenses, such as rent, travel and food, until you expect to receive your next payment.

2. Track your monthly spending

Having a view of what you’re spending each month is key to knowing exactly how much you need to budget for. Bank statements and banking apps can be useful to tell you how much you’ve spent, and using a budget planner to input income and outgoings can be a very helpful way to organise your finances. They can help you figure out exactly how much money you will have leftover once you’ve paid for the essentials.

3. Set weekly allowances

Setting an allowance for some of your more non-essential outgoings can really help you to avoid overspending. Give yourself a strict budget and try to stick to it each week. It might mean saying no to the odd night out or suggesting cheaper options to your friends, but it will help you better manage your money from month to month.

Be more conscious of your spending and, if needed, cut your non-essential purchases until you have more flexible income available. Making simple swaps can also help, so perhaps try cooking more at home to avoid paying for meals out, or save money on your morning coffee by replacing the Starbucks by brewing your own.

4. Take advantage of student discounts

One of the many benefits of being a student is the amount of discounts you are eligible for. There are lots of dedicated student discount websites, such as Unidays and Student Beans, that give you discount codes on clothes, restaurants, and technology, and lots of shops and restaurants across university cities offer money off if you can show a student ID card.

5. Look into grants and bursaries

Alongside your student loan, you might be eligible for government grants and bursaries if you need a little extra support. For those students with children, you may be able to get financial support to help with things like family accommodation, childcare costs, and fees associated with your course, and, unlike the student loan, these don’t need paying back.

There are lots of different types of funding available, and they can really make a difference to your student budget, so it can be worth taking the time to research to see if you’re eligible.

Sharvan Selvam, Commercial Director for Aqua comments:

“While the cost of university can feel a little overwhelming, the experience can be worth it in the long run as you work towards gaining a degree and preparing for your future.

“Every student will have different financial commitments, but having a solid financial plan in place is a good starting point. No matter your situation, it’s important to manage your finances throughout your time at university, to help ease any money worries and allow you to focus on your studies so you can get the most out of your university experience.”

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