How to budget for uni
If you are preparing to go to uni, the costs can seem huge. Housing, food and tuition add up fast and working while you study is not always an option. For students wondering how to budget for uni, we have compiled some tips. These will not make you rich but they will definitely help you worry less about your money while you study.
1) Make a spreadsheet of your known incomings and outgoings. This sounds really boring and simple but it is hugely important. Your incomings are all your sources of income. These could be a maintenance loan, grants or wages from a job. Outgoings are things like tuition, food, rent and other living costs.
What this does is show you exactly how much money you have to spend each month. It can also quickly alert you if you do not have enough for the basics.
Now that you know how much money you have left after essential expenses, add in any non-essentials. When you are thinking about how to budget for uni, remember that you are not a machine. You will want to go shopping, get haircuts, eat take away meals etc. While these are not crucial, they are still important. You do not want to live like a monk for 3 years while you get your degree and having fun is part of the university experience.
Now that you have a list of all your expenses, subtract that number from your monthly incomings and divide the result by 4. This gives you a weekly budget for anything you have not already accounted for.
2) Keep your money just out of reach. This does not mean stashing your cash in a ceiling or up a tree. It is about preventing yourself from spending without thinking. Start by setting up a free savings account. Banks may even over a special student bank account with perks. When you get your money from a loan, grant or paycheck, make sure it is moved straight into this new account.
Once that is done, set up a standing order to pay yourself a weekly allowance into your debt account. This ensures you can never go over your weekly spending limit. It also protects your money if your debit card is lost or stolen.
The great part about this system is that you still have access to all your money, it just prevents you from spending too much. This is a key part of how to budget for uni because it gives you some freedom without letting you go too far.
3) Never stop shopping around. You will have a choice of where you buy most things. This could be internet service, a mobile phone, food and even textbooks. When you are thinking about how to budget for uni, you should always be looking for ways to get things cheaper.
Use price comparison sites to get deals on insurance, utilities and things like phone plans. Use online sites like eBay to recycle your old clothes, books and electronics. Switch bank accounts to take advantage of cash incentives and sign up for any regular money-saving newsletters in your area. Also, remember that organisations like the NUS offer student discounts so always ask if businesses offer these perks.
4) Finally, set yourself some goals and incentives. For goals, make sure they are achievable. If you shoot too high, your own standards can become impossible to live up to. Instead, set manageable financial targets each month. If you reach your target, reward yourself with an incentive. This could be a night out, a movie or something else you enjoy. If you do not reach your goal, don’t punish yourself. Remember that part of learning how to budget for uni is accepting that you are not perfect, just keep trying.
While goals can help prevent you from overspending, they can also help you save during uni. You could be planning to go travelling in the summer or maybe you just want an emergency fund. In any case, having a goal to save some money is a great idea.
By following these 4 tips you can stick to a budget and maybe have some money left over. If you are still struggling with money, you may need to consider other revenue streams like working or asking your parents for help. Everyday Loans can also help out. We have loans tailored to young people just like you. If you are interested, please fill out an application.