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Tips and tricks on how to budget and keep track of your spending

Commencement of the new academic year has seen many students return from a much needed summer break, along with all the freshers who, for the majority, will be away from the family home for the first time. This can be hard for many reasons; home sickness, new responsibilities, living with new people for the first time. It can be especially daunting if this is the first time you are taking control of your own financial responsibilities. Being able to budget and track your spending can really help…

When budgeting there are a few tools available online, Money Helper have a handy budget planner to help break down your spending. When budgeting its best to break down your spending:

Add up your income

  • Student loan
  • Grants, bursaries, scholarships
  • Money from guardians/parents
  • Income from a job
  • Savings

Take off essential outgoings

  • Rent
  • Tuition fees
  • Bills: Internet, TV licence, utilities, etc.
  • Contents insurance
  • Travel costs: Petrol/public transport
  • Phone bill
  • Food

Day to day spending

  • Books/equipment for your course
  • Household supplies and toiletries
  • Social activities
  • Clothing

Include everything you spend in the budget to help you track exactly where you spend your money.

Money Saving Tips

  • Budget – Know exactly what you have going in and out of your account
  • Use your student discount
  • Students don’t pay council tax
  • Some students may be entitled to free prescriptions
  • Get your student discount with TOTUM
  • Cheaper travel with a 16-25 Railcard
  • If you want something – Save!

But what if you regularly spend more than your income?

Increase your income

You can do this by finding a part-time job, but don’t neglect your studies! Research has shown that working more than 20 hours a week can impact negatively on your studies. Find a good work/study balance.

Reduce your expenses

Cut down on non-essential spending, e.g. takeaways or expensive subscriptions.

Learn to cook meals at home, this can be healthier and much cheaper than eating out.

Walk instead of using transport; it’s better for the environment and you have the added bonus of getting some exercise which can help reduce stress!

Speak to an advisor at your University’s Student Support Team. They may be able to help you apply for a grant if you are eligible.

Get help with debt

You may be entitled to help from the hardship fund – You usually won’t have to pay the money back, but in some cases you’ll get a loan that you have to repay.

If you do consider borrowing from another source: Only borrow what you can afford to pay back!

Written by Laura Cunningham, Social Media Editor

1st October, 2021