Budgeting can be very difficult to manage, even for people who have graduated and have a regular income. For many students, however, going to uni will be the first time that they are living away from home and managing their own finances, which only makes it all the more important that you are properly prepared; you don’t want poor planning of finances to mean your student loan is all spent before Christmas and you can’t focus on your exams, because you only have plain rice left to eat!
Break it down into smaller blocks
It could be incredibly difficult to predict how much money you will need for your whole year at uni for each of the different categories, such as food and transport. However. you should be able to have at least some idea about what you will spend each month.
Start with your known expenses:
Normally, the best way to keep a budget would be to start with your income (money coming in), and work backwards from there. But since your income might be less than your expenses, the best place to start is with bills that shouldn’t change very much, or at all, like rent, internet, mobile phone bill.
If you’re living in campus accommodation, a lot of these expenses might already be covered. If you’re sharing accommodation with other students, you’ll also be sharing these bills.
After these, you can add the figures that might change more, like how much you’ll spend on shopping in a month.
Make sure you include saving!
It doesn’t have to be a lot (and if you’re anything like the average student, it probably can’t be!), but it’s a good practice to save at least a little bit every month. Even if it’s just £10 or £20. You’ll be glad when you suddenly need it.
Make a figure for socialising, and stick to it!
The most important part of making a budget is that you stick to it as closely as you can. If you start overspending, the whole plan is going to go out the window, and you’ll suddenly find that you don’t have enough money for what you need.
Let Future Finance do some of the heavy lifting for you! (Download your Future Finance Student budget plan and get started!)
If creating a simple budget is still a little bit too difficult for you, you can simply use our one! We’ve already filled in some common expense options for you, and left some blank fields for you to add yourself. We’ve given you each month of the uni year.
What if I end up with a minus figure?
If you end up with a negative figure at the end of the year, then you have overspent on your budget. You will either need to go through your plan, and cut back to make savings, or you will need to get some extra income.