Keeping a budget in university

Students, in the main, don’t have a lot of disposable income, with any loan or help from parents quickly eaten up by accommodation costs and tuition fees. It’s a good idea, therefore, to keep a budget in order to avoid any stress in relation to money, especially at important deadlines or exam periods.

That’s to say, there’s a benefit to not having to tackle two or three major issues when you could have your focus on the tasks that should matter at that time. And if you do run into some financial difficulties, a budget can at least give you a good idea on how you might get out of it.

Work intricately enough and you might be able to scrimp enough to have money available come the next big computer game release date. Here’s some useful information on how to create a budget and what university life might cost.

Starting a budget

Seeing a four figure numerical on your bank statement can be exciting, until you look at university costs and other essential outgoings. Hold off on planning chimerical holidays or major treats and start a budget. The start of a budget is when you sit down and stick the bigger figures on paper in order to know what you are left with. These will include working out your total amount of loans, grants etc, and comparing them with major outgoings and reoccurring costs like tuition fee, rent and food.


You can go as far as creating a forecast. Excel provides some good free budget templates where you can start this process off. Forecasts allow you to see ahead in order to be able to calculate what you want to spend on different essentials and pleasures. Research by the National Union of Students found that the average student spends (per week) £17.99 on Going out, £17.04 on drinks, £8.44 on mobiles.


You can toggle your own budget as you go along and see what type of habits you start creating. The £17.99 figure above for Going Out, for instance, is above and beyond what is spend on drink. So the usual assumption that you can work out a university budget on how much you spend on getting inebriated needs a little more attention to detail.


If you’re particularly studious you may add books, stationery or computer software (which might help with study) to your list. Alas, the tricks of the trade other are than cologne, perfume, and DVDs – although these are very useful.


It might also be a good idea to try to factor in birthday, Christmas and other types of presents. Remember, loved ones remain so throughout your university experience.


You might find that after entering all the outgoings that you are in minus cash flow figures some months. Here is where you will need to get creative. This means that at some point you might either need to start reining in some spending or contemplate begging, borrowing… or working. Understanding this gives you essential information as to when you should start doing one or more of them. Hopefully you will note enter minus figures until later in the year, in which case you can kick back and enjoy your studies until which point you need to focus elsewhere.

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