Budgeting is often easier said than done, and sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can quickly run into debt. But budgeting doesn’t have to be a headache; figure out what your incomings and outgoings are and work out how much needs to be kept aside for rent, bills and essentials. It is useful to over-estimate so you always have more aside in case you do go over the estimated amount. Once you know how much is left over, you can figure out what you can spend on other things.
Check your account regularly, as small amounts can add up quickly! If you do overspend one week don’t panic – simply be more sensible over the next week or two to even out the balance.
There are lots of ways to make your pennies stretch, and here are some of our suggestions:
- Visit www.studentbeans.com for fab student offers, from food discounts and vouchers to holidays and clothing.
- Look at events information on your Students’ Union website for upcoming cheap (or free!) events, including days/nights out, classes/workshops and volunteering opportunities.
- Always keep your student card to hand and check if you can use it whenever buying anything – many clothes shops, restaurants and cinemas (which you might not know about!) offer great discounts for students.
- Most supermarkets will have a ‘yellow sticker’ section with items sold for cheaper than usual (you will usually find more ‘yellow sticker’ items if you visit the supermarket in the evening when they need to sell items before the next day!). If you use this regularly the small amounts saved will soon add up.
We love some of these handy FREE apps which can help you budget if you’re struggling:
- OnTrees is an app which links to your bank account, but rest assured, it works securely and safely. The app keeps users on budget by handily having all outgoings and income in one place. Create a budget and OnTrees monitors how closely you’re sticking to it by categorising your spending, so you can see exactly where your money is going, and you can see where you’re overspending.
- Expensify allows you to scan receipts, making it quick to use and easy to keep updated. It’s also useful if you drive as it can track mileage.
- Goodbudget is useful if you share bills with friends or have any shared costs with other people, as it can sync between different mobile devices and the web.
If you do run into debt, don’t panic. Help is out there and don’t be afraid or too embarrassed to ask. Below are a few ideas of where you can turn to help you get back on track:
- Your Students’ Union: Speak to your Student Advice Centre for guidance to ensure you are receiving all the loans you’re entitled to.
- Your accommodation: Speak to your landlord and energy providers to see if there are any flexible options to create a payment plan more suited to your finances.
- Find a part time job: Increasingly more students have to juggle working part time with university life. This can be a great way of keeping a regular income coming in to your account and looks great on a CV. Check the job shop at your Students’ Union first and call your careers service who should be able to offer suggestions.
- International students: If you are an international student you can visit the British Council website for further help and advice. Visit your international student office at university who are there to support you throughout your studies in the UK.
- Talk to the bank: If you urgently need money, your bank may allow you to create an overdraft. If you wish to do this, be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully beforehand.
For more information on accommodation costs and rent, click here. When house hunting, make sure to use the weekly cost tool on the Unipol accommodation search page which allows you to search according to your budget, so you can be sure you won’t run into difficulty with paying your rent.