HOP | HOP to Freshers- It's budgeting time!
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HOP to Freshers- It's budgeting time!

Yes, we know it’s not the most glamorous of all the subjects... but I bet if you asked any past student they’d wish they had budgeted better at University.

Accommodation, books, food and nights out…you’d be surprised how easy it is to burn through money, even more so when you are a fresher and it’s your first time handling your own money. Regardless of student finance or any other type of funding you might get, having some information on living on a budget as a student is really valuable.

Whether you’re trying to save up for something like a holiday or the next PS5 game or if you want some emergency money (yep the dreaded smashed iPhone screens or broken laptops), we can give you some tips to budget better as a student and hopefully this is something that you can carry over after University.

What is your income?

So, first thing we would recommend is to work out how much money you have coming in over the year so you can visualise how you can set the parameters of your spending. Remember that if you have a maintenance loan it will come in in 3 installments over the year. Some other common income streams you might have are;

  • Maintenance loan.
  • Scholarship, bursaries or grants.
  • Money gifted from parents.
  • Part time job salary.
  • Savings.

What are your outgoings?

Now you have an idea of your yearly income you can start to look at where the money will need to go. A great starting point is to look at an old bank statement so you can see what outgoings you currently have going out, such as phones or car insurance. Then you can start to make categories (essential and non-essential) and input spend on each one, categories such as;

Essential expenses

  • Rent.
  • Shopping/ groceries.
  • Bills (water, internet, mobile phone, gas and electric, insurance).
  • Transport costs (car/fuel, insurance, bus or train fare).

Non-essential expenses

  • Eating out.
  • Night's out.
  • Cinema, gigs, festivals.
  • New clothes.
  • Travelling.
  • Gym memberships.
  • Haircuts/ beauty products.
  • Subscriptions (Prime, Netflix, Now).

Calculations time.

Now you will have all of your expenses laid out in front of you. Brace yourself because now it’s time to work out your weekly budget. Don’t worry we have broken this down for you!

  1. Work out your income for a term at University.
  2. Deduct all of your essential expenses that you have listed.
  3. Now divide that number by the number of weeks in a term, you should be able to find term times on your University website.

So now you have your weekly budget! Wahooo! In other words, now, you can see what money you have left to spend on your non-essential items! We think it’s better to work this out week by week because it’s really easy to go over budget if you do it month by month, all those coffee’s and night out add up!

Goal goals goals.

The budget you now have in front of you might be fine with lots of room to play and spend money but if it’s not and it’s leaving you with very little at the end of the week, then think about some goals of how you can cut down costs. If you are spending £40 a week on takeaways then cut that down by half or if that Gym membership is draining your bank account maybe you can think about more creative ways to keep fit or join a society. Some things that can help are;

  • Downloading a student budgeting app.
  • Access a free online budget calculator to help you keep track of your money.
  • Set up a savings account where you can direct debit your bills or outgoings, so you know they are all set up and you can see your remaining money.
  • Recycle as much as you can, clothes, text books, furniture.
  • Be on the look out for cheaper energy companies.
  • Make use of student discounts- Students Beans and UniDays have lists of all the discounts you can get!
  • Meal prep week by week.

Now it’s time for you to go forth and budget. Hopefully we have made it less scary than it seems! Remember to not compare yourself to other people and their finical position and to treat yourself when you can. Who knows? You might even get a bit addicted to keeping check of your outgoings and see your bank account expand.

Check out our blogs on cooking at University and Decorating your room they have lots of cheap and cheerful top tips to help your budget!