Living on a budget is one of the most important like skills you will learn during your time at university. Of course, the reason you have decided to pursue a degree qualification is the doors this will lock with regard to your career, but the life skills this will teach you are also invaluable.
You won’t learn this overnight however and it may well take you some time before you master the art of being a student on a budget. We’ve been giving this some thought here at Almero Student Mansions, such is our commitment to students across the country and have come up with this quick and easy guide to living on a budget and planning this essential aspect of student life.
Live Life Weekly
Whereas you are likely to look at things monthly once you leave university and enter the world of gainful employment, we recommend you live your life weekly when you are studying. This will allow you to break things down a lot more easily and set a weekly budget you can stick to, you can also divide your student loan (which you will receive three times, at the start of each semester) into manageable chunks so you know what you can spend and what you cannot.
If you also have a job, then you can factor this into the equation and we have laid the rationale out for you below:
- Look at how much cash you will have coming in
- Work out, as best you can, how much money you will have coming into your bank account
- Subtract your outgoings from your income and divide it by the aforementioned number of weeks in the academic year. This should give you a magic number you can spend each week on groceries, rent, book and beer (of course)
Money Coming In
Perhaps the hardest part of all of this, is working out all your money coming in. If you are getting money from family, have a part time job, savings and of course your loan; then it can all get qute confusing and it can also be quite tempting to just blow any extra bits and pieces you get. Unfortunately, not doing this is of paramount importance as it can make all the difference come the end of term.
There are loads of handy apps and online planners you can take advantage of to help with this and even alert you when cash comes in, but it’s important you put this into your student bank account and factor it into the above.
Money Going Out
If this is the first time you have lived away from home or you are a fresher, then this could be the first time you have had to consider all the outgoings that will be leaving your bank account. This can be a shock to the system and getting this all in order now is crucial, so you don’t end up with no money in your account when you least need this to happen.
Budgeting is a case of getting all your ducks in a row and as mentioned, you can set up alerts to let you know when payments have gone out so you aren’t left stuck. Everyone’s outgoings will vary, but there are some that are simply unavoidable and these are:
- Tuition Fees
- Energy Bills
- Mobile Phone
- TV License
- Alcohol (unless you’re tee total, of course!)
Open a Good Student Bank Account
This brings you to our next point, which isn’t strictly budgeting but is crucial for any student looking to make the most of their finances. This will not only offer you an interest free overdraft facility which will give you a crucial buffer when the going gets tough, but provided you open one with a reputable bank, then there will lots of other perks and facilities you can take advantage of.
We can’t tell you which student bank account to open, as they all have their own perks and advantages, just be sure to research all the high street firms and also look at some of the online bank that are emerging as alternatives these days. Just remember not to go to mad with your overdraft, as you will be charged interest on any balance once you leave university and this could be quite a pain to pay back afterwards.
Plan, Plan, Plan
As you can see, the key to living on a budget is simply down to effective planning and not being extravagant at the wrong time. Get this right and we think you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of disposable income you end up with, especially if you work a few hours as well. This is our guide on how to make a budget plan but you should also check out handy tools from the likes of Which? and MoneySavingExpert too.
We hope this helps you to make the very most out of your university experience and if you are on the lookout of luxury student accommodation, be sure to take a look around the rest of the Almero Student Mansions website.