Whether you are starting your very first term or simply want to get in control of your finances at uni, our finance cheatsheet is designed to take some of the stress out of budgeting!
Our recent survey told us that ⅔ of students feel totally unprepared when it comes to budgeting during their studies¹. That’s why we put together our ultimate guide to getting financially organised for uni, starting where your budget can really take a hit: Freshers week!
Download your free cheatsheet here which you can print off and hang up, or simply edit online and save to your phone or laptop.
Step 1: Make your budget for your first few weeks
The hardest part of organising yourself financially is just getting started. Our cheatsheet allows you to budget either just for Freshers week if you are feeling the strain or budget for your entire first month at uni (or you can start at any time during the year, it’s never too late).
Simply calculate all of your disposable income you have for the week or month in question and then divide it up using our handy budget table. Fill out what you have to spend on necessities first, such as rent and bills, and then decide on an amount you to allocate for other expenses (such as eating out and social events).
At the end of the week or month, fill in what the reality was. If you went way over in one area, consider whether you need to adjust your budget or if you can make changes to your spending habits.
Try again the following month and keep changing the amounts until you find a budget that you are completely comfortable with.
Make sure you check out our ‘common student expenses’ section on the cheatsheet to make sure you don’t get caught with any surprise outgoings you don’t expect!
Step 2: Consider all your options
If you think you are going to run short in any area, it’s good to assess all your finance options now so that you can take action if you ever need extra support during your studies. We’ve included all of the most common finance options for students on our cheatsheet.
You will more than likely have already been in touch with Student Loans Company (SLC) and this is the first place every student should look when trying to finance their studies. Once you have determined how much you are eligible for with SLC, you can then consider your other options for finance if you still need extra income.
Sit down with your parents or family and make sure you know whether they can support you and with how much if times get tough. It’s good to have that conversation early so you can all manage expectations when it comes to financial support.
You can also consider your hours for your course at uni and whether you can manage a part-time job alongside your studies. If you are opening a student bank account, make sure there is an option for a 0% overdraft to get you through any tight months (but try not to rely on this as a long-term finance option).
You may also look into a private student loan which has proven to be a lifeline for students who have exhausted other avenues for finance. For more detailed information on all of these finance options, check out our comprehensive guide to student finance.
Remember that you don’t have to be completely financially sorted for uni in the first few weeks or months, but knowing all your options and where you stand from the outset means you can take action if you need extra support during your studies.
Step 3: Make your life as easy as possible
You are a student, so make sure you reap all the benefits of being one!
We have plenty of tips on the cheatsheet to ensure that you are making the most of your money including which discount site to use, best apps for saving money, tips for spending less and what student cards you should be signing up for!
To make sure you avoid the rookie mistakes a lot of new students make, check out this blog.
- 1 Future Finance Online Survey, July 2019, 1,930 students surveyed.