The University Budget Tool and Guide 2013/14
If you’ve just been accepted for a place at the university of your dreams the excitement can soon turn to fear.
What will you do without your parents there to buy your meals and cook your clothes? How will you cope when left to your own devices? These are all questions that are likely to be running through your head. Luckily we’ve decided to throw together a student budget guide for you.
Student Money’s Weekly Budget Planner
Use our brand new weekly budget planner tool to plan your total monthly expenditure and costs. You can be as detailed as you like with our tool, entering information such as accommodation, bills, food, nights out, fuel, car tax, cinema and more!
What will I be spending my money on?
We all know that university can be an expensive experience – but where does all that money go? Here are a few ideas:
- Nights out (drinking!): during your time at university you’ll probably embark upon a fair few nights out, with lots of drinking involved. Budgeting for this must be realistic.
- Food: without your parents there to feed you it’s important that you fill your section of the fridge with hearty food that will keep you nourished. Remember you probably won’t be able to afford to eat like a king, but that’s not a problem because you can get some really good deals down at your local supermarket. You’ll need at least 3 meals per day – this is where the bulk of your budget will be spent.
- Books: university isn’t all about partying – you’ll need to do some studying from time to time too. One of the things you need to budget for is those hefty books that are required on your course. You can bet there will be lots of them – and they definitely won’t be cheap. As little tip for those wincing in pain at the thought of spending thousands on books; try to buy them second hand! Lots of campuses have second hand book stores on them – you’ll be able to grab a bargain there. Otherwise you can also buy books second hand from the likes of Amazon and eBay.
- …and lots of other things!
Average Monthly Costs for Bills:
There are some things you can’t budget for…
It’s true; there are some costs that will pop up during your studies that you simply can’t budget for. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have some savings stashed away somewhere just in case you need to pay a bill that you didn’t foresee. During your first year you’ll find that budgeting is a bit of a guessing game; but when you start your second and third years you’ll soon start to get a hang of it.
At first you might find that you need to do budgeting on paper or in a computer program. By the end of your student life budgeting will become second nature to you – and it’s a skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Budgeting is all about exercising self restraint. Just because you have a large student loan sat in your bank account doesn’t mean you should dare yourself to blow it all in one weekend for the fun of it. You have to realize that the loans you receive are there to last you 3 or 4 months at a time – and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
As with anything else in life it’s important that you learn from your mistakes when it comes to budgeting. If you live within your means and limit the amount of nights out that you have, you’ll find that your budget can in fact go a very long way. If your budget is stretched you could also consider taking on a part time job – just to help increase your cash flow a little.