Your annual budget
If you have not already done so, estimate your annual budget by listing all your expected income, including any savings you will bring with you to university.
- See how this compares with your anticipated expenditure in the hope that the balance sheet almost balances or, better still, that you are left with spare cash in the bank for doing what you've always wanted to do!
Budgeting accurately is never an easy process, and we have constructed this simple but realistic annual income and expenditure summary to make monitoring and controlling your finances easier.
- It can be difficult to predict accurately some variable expenses such as entertainment. Start by identifying bills which must be paid and include in this a small contingency fund. This will leave you with the 'flexible' part of your income to take weekly from the bank. Don't be too optimistic in your first budget, and do be aware of how much you actually spend (try writing down everything you spend over a week or so).
- Budget for university gigs and balls, birthdays and parties, or you may find yourself missing out on the best social events of the year. If there is a big gap between planned budget and actual expenditure, perhaps your spending habits need attention rather than your budgeting.
Consider having two bank accounts – one for essentials such as rent and food (your budget will tell you how much you need for these), the other for non-essentials like going out, entertainment, and holidays.
- Transfer a set amount into the second account each week or month. This should ensure that you don't overspend and run out of cash for your rent, and will help you keep a grip on your day-to-day spending, where it's easy to overspend.
- Your patterns of expenditure will differ significantly between term-time and vacations, and you'll need to budget for this.
- There are useful budgetting apps to download, most of them free. They can help you keep track of your day-to-day spending, and your bank balance.
Above all, remember to keep a check on your finances so that money worries do not detract from your studying and from enjoying life at university!
A sample budget for 2015 entrants
|Tuition Fee Loan||8,507|
|Term time/vacation work||3,000|
|Electricity, gas, water||260|
|Food and drink||1,600|
|Books and stationery||370|
|Clothes and shoes||470|
|Travel and transport||420|
|Sports and leisure||210|
|Holidays and presents||420|
- are studying in England;
- not living at home;
- you have a Tuition Fee Loan to cover tuition fees of £8,507;
- you are eligible for the maximum Maintenance Grant of £3,354;
- you receive a Maintenance Loan of £3,823.
We have not taken into account any possible National Scholarship Programme monies, nor any bursaries or scholarships you may be eligible for.
Next page: Student Finance Survival Tips