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Graduate Advice
5 min read

Creating A Budget For University

It can be quite a worry when you realise that you have to get through a whole year of university and will need to manage your finances throughout that time. One of the first aspects that you will have sorted through and finalised before university starts is your student loan or any grants that you may be entitled to. This will be the foundation of your financial support system. There has been a change recently to the dynamics of student finances yet the need for budgeting stays the same!
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
September 25, 2023

It can be quite a worry when you realise that you have to get through a whole year of university and will need to manage your finances throughout that time. One of the first aspects that you will have sorted through and finalised before university starts is your student loan or any grants that you may be entitled to. This will be the foundation of your financial support system. There has been a change recently to the dynamics of student finances yet the need for budgeting stays the same!

Most people starting university will have had no experience of budgeting at all so you will be in good company! Everyone's circumstances will be different . Some students will get a part time job to boost their bank balance while others will be lucky enough to rely upon family for financial help. Others will have neither!

Start by assessing your bank balance and exactly how much you expect to be going into your account and when, remembering that your student loan gets paid three times in the year and taking into consideration income from jobs or monetary gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

Once you have a good idea of how much money you will have to live on, it is time to work out your outgoings which will need slightly more consideration. Again, circumstances differ but the main outgoings will be rent, utility bills - which include gas, electricity, water and internet. In addition to these you will need to take into consideration your phone bill, contents insurance, television licence and of course your weekly grocery bill which will include toiletries and essentials such as washing powder.

You may need new study books or stationary throughout the year but try to use the library resources or borrow books and study literature if you can. If you must buy books then try to buy second hand which can save a considerable amount of money.

That's not all! If you have your own car you will need to budget for the fuel, car tax, servicing MOT and unexpected repairs. If you will be using public transport it’s wise to research which method works out cheaper then look into discounted rates for students.

There are many other extra outgoings which although not essential are still very much a necessity! These include nights out, takeaways, clothing, getting a haircut, self care items, going to the cinema or a festival, travelling, family and friends birthdays and the expense of Christmas presents. Be realistic with your outgoings. For example if you usually spend £30 on going out each week then don’t try to tell yourself that you will only spend £10 if you know that it is unrealistic and will prove impossible to keep to.

Once you have listed what will be going into your bank account and what will be coming out, you will be able to see what you have left to spend. It may be somewhat of a shock at first but you can set yourself goals of staying within your budget. It is wiser to start budgeting on a weekly basis than monthly simply because if you go over or under budget by the end of the week, it is much easier to make up for it rather than waiting a whole month.

Some weeks will be easier than others but once you have got settled into life as a student, you will be able to make tailored adjustments which will make life that little bit easier. Taking responsibility for your finances will be one less thing to worry about so you can enjoy student life to the maximum.

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