If you’re planning on attending University this year, there’s a lot to think about. One of the most important factors will undoubtedly be money, whether that’s Student Finance (which you can find all about here), deciding whether or not to get a job, or simply working out how much you can afford to spend, and what on.
So, to make things that little bit easier, I thought I would put together a quick and simple guide to budgeting at Uni, outlining everything that you need to include in your budget.
- Course fees – If you’re applying for Student Finance, chances are that this one is already covered. But, if you’re paying for anything yourself, make sure to factor this into your budget as it will definitely be the biggest factor.
- Course materials – Unfortunately, being a Uni student means lots of reading, which in turn means books on top of books on top of books. It can get pretty costly. So, research which texts you definitely need, and prioritise those. See if you can find the more expensive ones online (on sites like Jstor or Google Scholar) or second-hand on Ebay and Amazon.
- I can’t stress this enough – you don’t need every single book that the Uni suggests, and you definitely don’t need a brand new copy. Of course, you may need specific volumes of a text, or specific editions, but apart from this there’s no real reason to spend hundreds of pounds on course materials (like I did!)
- As well as this, you may need to buy some notebooks, folders, or pens and pencils, so don’t forget the essentials too!
- Rent and utilities – This is another significant factor that you must consider in your budget. Again, Student Finance may cover part of this, but there’s a good chance it won’t cover it all. If you’re in Student Accommodation you probably don’t need to worry about your utilities, such as gas and electricity, but you will definitely need to pay for rent. If you are living privately, you could save money by comparing energy suppliers on Which? Switch, making sure you’re saving as much as possible.
- Food – Budgeting for food can be difficult, so I will be doing a separate post on this alone. But, for now, consider buying in bulk as it’s often cheaper, and try planning meals in advance so that you don’t waste any of your money. Make sure you write out a shopping list too, buying only the items you need!
- Transport – If you’re living far from home, you’ll definitely need to consider the cost of transport. Consider how often you’ll want to travel home, and how much your journey might cost on average. Also consider buying a Rail Card if you’re travelling regularly by train, as this can save you a lot!
- Toiletries/Essentials – There are some things that we all just need, such as toilet roll, or toothpaste. You must budget in any essentials like these, but remember you probably won’t need to buy new products quite as regularly as food, for instance, as items such as toothpaste tend to last a few months.
- Insurance – This is a biggy, as you’ll probably be taking quite a few expensive items with you to Uni, and you definitely don’t want to pay for them if they break, or get stolen/lost. First, check if you’re covered by your parent’s insurance, and if not you should be able to get your own for as little as £10. You can compare deals here.
- Extras (clothes, entertainment, etc.) – University isn’t all about working hard and getting a degree – it’s also about having fun, and meeting new people. So, you’ve still got to live an enjoyable life. This means budgeting for nights out, trips to the cinema, or even just a new shirt once in a while. Of course, this will vary month to month, but think realistically about how much money you can spare, and make sure you factor it in.
Now, I understand that this may seem like A LOT of information to take in, and you’re still probably very confused about what to do next, but don’t worry! There will be many, many more posts about budgeting at Uni, so keep your eyes peeled. And, if you have any specific questions, just leave them below or send me a message on Twitter!
For now, note down everything you need to pay for while at Uni, and figure out how much these items will cost per week, or per month. Then, consider your income, and try to fit it all in. It won’t be easy, but like I said I’ll be giving plenty of advice in the near future so don’t panic – there’s still plenty of time!
If you want some more tips on Student Saving, just click here.
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