Create your own budget
Concerned about how you'll support your living expenses whilst at university? Budgeting may seem boring, but it's important to create a manageable plan that will help keep your finances on track.
Why do I need to budget?
Keeping track of money coming in and where you are spending money is important. Your maintenance loan is unlikely to cover all of your living costs. Planning ahead and having awareness of what your outgoings will be each month, will ensure you have enough to survive and thrive during your time at university.
Having a budget plan will also help you prepare for any unexpected costs, like smashed phone screens and broken laptops.
Step one: establish your income
Your first step to creating a budget plan is establishing how much income you'll have each month. This will help you set limits to your spending.
Don't forget that your maintenance loan is split across three big instalments throughout the academic year. It's up to you to budget this out each month.
Your different income streams might be:
- Your maintenance loan
- Money from your parents or carers
- Income from a part-time job
- Extra income from bursaries
- Your savings
Step two: estimate your outgoings
Once you've worked out how much money you've got coming in each month, you can work out where you'll be spending it. Looking at bank statements will help you look at previous spending habits and how much things cost. If you're not sure how much you'll spend each month, take a look at our estimated monthly breakdown.
These are the things you're likely to spend money on:
- Food shopping and groceries
Step three: calculate your budget
Once you know your outgoings, break them down into a manageable weekly budget.
You'll need to:
- Work out your income per term at university
- Deduct your essential expenses (rent, travel, bills)
- Divide the number you're left with by the number of weeks per term
This will give you your weekly budget of how much money you've got to spend on non-essential things per week.
For example, if you income across your first term is £2700 and your essential expenditure adds up to £1,250, you'd have £120 per week. This is based on a 12-week term.
It's easier to budget your expenses per week rather than every month. It'll help you keep on track and stop you overspending.
Tools to help you budget:
There are plenty of templates online you could follow, take a look at our article on student budget calculators. Tools like excel or google sheets will help you calculate costs in an organised structure.