Budgeting In Uni: My 6 Step Plan

Okay, to put it bluntly: don’t be the douchebag who spends all of/ the majority of their loan in Fresher’s week, lives in their overdraft permanently, and then either a) whines about how bad being a poor student is, or b) get mummy and daddy to continually bail them out.

You don’t need to live off of baked beans, and the crappy student diet is a myth you can dispel, as well as having some really great nights out, and exploring the places around you with friends. But only if you learn the joys of budgeting with these 6 Simple Steps

Step 1- Get your loan and grant approved by Student Finance England.

Step 2- Once the instalments you will be paid in can be viewed (this is 45 days before the first term starts), write them into your diary.

Step 3- Work out, per term, your regular and biggest total in-goings and out-goings. For example…

Autumn Term:
In-Goings —— loan = £2000   Grant= £1000
Out-Goings—— Accommodation= £600 Gym= £50  Phone Insurance= £48

Your tuition fee will be paid directly to the uni, and so that’s £9000 you don’t have to worry about, because you never even see it.

Step 4- Work out the balance by subtracting the total out-goings, from your total in-goings…

(£2000+ £1000) – (£600 + £50 + £48)
£3000 – £698 = £2,302

Step 5- Now we work out how much money you’ll have per week to work with. Do this by diving the money you have left (that’s our £2,302) by the number of week in the term (so for me, this is roughly 15 weeks)…

£2,302 / 15 weeks = £153.46 per week.

At this point I like to round down to make it simpler, and also save a few pennies. So, per week we have £150 to work with. Which is probably much more than you realistically will have, but this is just an example and so don’t get too hung up on that…

Step 6- Work out where this money needs to go, and workout roughly how much you want to spend in each area. Of course this will vary from week to week depending what you’re getting up to socially. Sit down each week and work out where the money needs to go, according to what you have planned. In the week below I appear to be having several day time activities planned, but am just having a couple of quiet drinks with friends at the pub/ our favourite cocktail bar (by the end of the year you will understand: you grow very old quite quickly after a year of nights out). This means my day and night time costs balance out. So, this will be covering your:

Weekly Costs…

  • Food shop- £25
  • Nights out- £20
  • Days out and daytime socialising (e.g. lunches out with friends etc.) – £30
  • Travel- £0 per average week (I walked EVERYWHERE, unless I was going somewhere far enough away to warrant a metro ticket. Again, depends what you’re doing that week, as you may require taxi fare for a night out)
  • Miscellaneous costs- £10

Costs You Need To Consider/ One Off Payments…

  • Societies Costs- £30 In the weeks you officially join societies you will have to pay a membership fee, mine were anywhere between £5-£15 but sporting societies tend to be very expensive: dance at Newcastle came close to £100 due to tuition, costume, travel and makeup costs etc.
  • Emergency costs – £10  (for example: my coat broke and I had to buy a new one immediately as it was snowing by this point in the year, I don’t give a budget for this one, but make sure you are conscious that some money can be put aside each week in case of emergencies.).

So, our weekly costs total £85 per week, £95 if you want to put aside one emergency tenner per week- which I recommend you do. I don’t include the societies costs as these will be a one off payment. This means that with these figures you have a little leeway to either play around with (£55 to be exact), or leave in the bank for a rainy day. Be conscious that in the first week or so this may be needed to pay for societies costs, and so in that time it is worth putting it to one side.

There you go, a simple plan for budgeting. I repeated these calculations each term, as the number of weeks and size of my loan varied. I hope that this helps you out, and if you need more tips on how to manage your money see this post right here: http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/30-student-money-saving-tips-tricks.html 


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