When your first student loan lands, you might feel like the richest you’ve ever felt. It’s an incredible feeling. We know, it’s pretty tempting to go on a massive shopping spree and burn through all your cash, but the money has gotta last you the whole term. Throw the cost of living crisis into the mix and now might just be the time to figure out how to budget your student loan so that it can last you as long as poss.
Sadly, not everyone might be fortunate enough to receive enough
to cover their rent, let alone have any left for anything else. If you’re not the budgeting type, and you know you just can’t go without buying your next set of sneaks, and you don’t want to be
living out of your overdraft
getting yourself a job
. Regardless, students everywhere need to know how to budget their money, however much they have, so we put together some tips and tricks you need to know to help your money go further.
Having a look at what you’ve got vs what you are spending is the best place to start when it comes to working out your budget. It might seem like a bit of a pain to go through this, but it’s an important thing to do.
Total Up Your Income:
First things first, you need to work out how much money you’ve got to spend. Total up all your income, making sure to include: your student loan, grants or bursaries, any cash your parents send to help you out, or any income from part time jobs you have at uni.
Total Your Outgoings:
Now you need to work out your outgoings, placing them into categories of your
Putting things into these categories will help you to work out what you have to spend, vs what you might be able to save. Again, it might seem silly, but it really helps show you where you can cut some of your costs if you need to.
: rent, utility bills, phone bills, travel costs, food, textbooks etc.
: nights out, food treats, new clothes, Netflix or Spotify subscriptions, trips away, hobbies & other social activities etc.
Take yourself to the gym, go on a run, join a sports society and get involved, or even just take yourself out on a walk. If you’ve been sitting inside studying all day, anything to get you up and moving will get you in the right direction.
Once you have your income and your outgoings all worked out, now’s the time to see what you have left to spend every week. Budget for your
list first, then you will be able to see if you have any money spare for your
Minus Total Necessary Outgoings
Divide By Number of Weeks in a Term
Answer = Amount of Money You Can Spend Every Week
Breaking your budget down into weeks helps you see exactly how much you have to play with each week. If you spend more one week, then you know you’ll have to save on the next week. It’s pretty simple and quick once you’re rolling with it, and it gives you an idea of where you stand so you don’t go way overboard with your spending.
Struggling to figure it all out? There are student budget calculators out there that will do all the hard work for you. It will provide an estimated budget based on the city that you live in and the uni you study at. Click here to check out the
UCAS Student Budget Calculator
Whatever you’re buying, you should always give yourself a quick checklist pep talk. If you’re low on cash, ask yourself ‘
Should I buy it?
‘Do I Need It?
’. If you have plenty of money, but still want to stick to a budget, ask yourself ‘
Will I use it?
’ and ‘
Is it worth it?
’. These quick questions will help you figure out what’s needed in your life or not.
If you’re struggling to know where to start with your budget planning, maybe consider having a look at your banking app to help you out. Banks like
, or even some high street banks you opened your
student bank account
, have built in budgeting features within their apps.
The apps are filled with budget friendly features that gather your spending habits into sections, so you can easily visualise how much you’re spending on where, and if you have an opportunity to start saving money on certain things. They’ll notify you if you are on the right track for your month’s budget, and if you’re getting close to going over budget.
Set up spending notifications on your phone for every time you spend, or a direct debit comes out of your account. You’re reminded of any upcoming payments so they don’t crop up and surprise you. Just another way to help you to stay on track with your spending.
When doing a food shop, be a little smart about things and you’ll easily save yourself some cash. Buying and cooking food in bulk always works out cheaper. When you’re buying food, larger sized packs are almost always cheaper. Size up and buy large packs of things that have super long use by dates. The trick is to cook these meals in bulk and from scratch, and then freeze what you don’t eat. It’ll save you money and save you from wasting ingredients before they go bad.
If you’re a fan of your Heinz, Cadburys, or Coca Cola brands, you’re likely paying a heck of a lot more for your food than you could be. Buying supermarket’s own branded goods helps reduce your food spends massively. Shopping at supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl can help you save money (their bakery section is unreal).
When you’re shopping, make use of the discounts or offers you have access to. Grab yourself a Tesco Clubcard: it’s a life-saver, especially with the rising prices of the meal deal (gone of the days when they were £3.00). Click here for more
ways to save money on your food
Saving on any travel costs will also help save you a lot of money. Whether you’re commuting, or you’re travelling home or to your friends, any chance to save some money is what you need. Get yourself a
and save 1/3 on all train travel! It might seem excessive if you don’t think you’ll travel much, but to be honest you’ll probably start saving money after your first or second journey.
If you travel into uni by bus, grab yourself a local bus pass. Depending on how much you need to travel, you could save a heck of a lot of money here. For more info on how to travel for less, check out our other
Travel Advice Hub
If you don’t like the idea of budgeting apps, and fancy taking the old fashioned route, get your laptop out and whack everything on a good ole spreadsheet. It’s another super quick and easy way to see exactly where you are with your spending, and where you can cut costs. For the super organised out there, colour coordinate and categorise your spending habits, create running totals, and plan out what’s left for you to play with.
We know, it’s probably something your gran always told you. But even if it’s a small amount, just £10 a week, will add up over the months. With some banks, you can make use of Save the Change or a Round Up options, so every time you spend some money, it will round up to the nearest whole £1 or £5. Set it up, forget about it, and get a nice little surprise savings pot when you next check your account!
If you’ve figured out how much you’re spending vs how much you’re earning, and can’t see a way to get yourself through the year, it might time to consider earning some extra money.
Get yourself a part time job
, sell some of your
, or even
get paid to become a mystery shopper
. You can even make real good
money walking dogs
! If none of this sounds interesting at all, maybe it’s time to wish luck on your side and
enter free lotteries
Being a student is about having fun! It’s your chance to enjoy independence for the first time! So don’t stress about things too much, everyone gets through it somehow. Just remember to pick yourself up and treat yourself every now and again! There are so many more options for students wanting to earn some extra cash. Have a look at the
Student Saviour Jobs Finder
to find the perfect job for you at your university or city. Visit our
Make Money Hub
for all the info you need to know about helping you financially make ends meet at uni.