Leaving home for university is an exciting, but sometimes also daunting, experience. You might have heard stories about crazy nights out and an eccentric student lifestyle, but being an adult also involves a number of responsibilities. You will have to find accommodation, pay your bills, and take care of your own finances.
How much you spend will depend on where you live and what type of life you lead. Some expenses will be a one-off, for example, a TV licence or a bus pass. Others such as rent and bills will have to be paid monthly. You will also have to take into account your weekly spending habits including food, and money for going out.
Sources of funding
Home and EU students are eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan which will cover their course fees. British students can also apply for a maintenance loan to help them with living costs. Other sources of funding include savings, scholarships and family support.
How to budget
The student life can be expensive and it is important that you learn how to budget well. There are some tips that can help you with your finances.
Prepare a budget plan that will include your monthly income and expenditure. Calculate the bills you pay every month, and see how much is left for your weekly spending. Set yourself a limit on how much you want to spend a week and try to stick to it, but don’t plan too tight. Your budget plan should be reasonable to avoid frustration with overspending.
It is cheaper to cook than to eat out. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be going out with your friends, but set yourself a limit on how many times a week you eat out. Cook with your flatmates to distribute the cost of food among yourselves. It is also a great way of socialising and learning about different cultures if you have international flatmates.
Take out only the amount of money that you want to spend on a night out. This will help you control your expenses, and may prevent you from leaving your card in a pub or club when you are drunk!
And finally, consider a part-time job for additional income. It is quite common for students to work while studying nowadays, and you can spend your earnings on past-time activities.
Do you have any tips for student budgeting at university? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Tax Credits / Flickr
Media & Communications graduate and freelance journalist.