Top tips on managing your money at university

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by Sophia, MSc Marketing

Going to university can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It also means you’re taking that first step in becoming an adult and doing adult things like managing money. Here are some of the most useful money tips I’ve picked up over the past few years of being a student.

How to manage your money at university

Student life can get tricky and most of us experience money woes at one point or another. It may not be exactly the most exciting part of becoming independent, but it’s important you learn how to manage your money well.

Having debt and financial pressure can affect your psychological wellbeing. However, it can all be avoided with the right preparation and being realistic about the amount of money you can spend.

Apply for student finance

It may sound obvious, but don’t forget to apply for student finance! You’d be surprised to know how many people forget to fill in their applications before the deadline. They then have to wait much longer to receive their loans.

Make sure you’re up to date with application deadlines. You don’t want to start off your tenancy by paying your rent late, being the one left behind and missing out on freshers.

Once you’ve secured your loan, it can be very exciting when that first amount hits your account. The important thing is to remember to not get too carried away and don’t wait until you run out of money.

You don’t want to be panicking towards the end of term, when you realise you went out to the Students’ Union a few nights too many and now don’t know what to do.

How to budget

You’ll feel a lot more confident if you take some time to sit down and draw up a budget before the start of the term. See what your monthly costs accumulate to and then see how much money you have leftover.

Once you know what that figure is, sit down on your laptop or a piece of paper and draw out a budget. On the top of the page, write down how much you will receive per term and underneath list your costs for that term.

The most important cost factors to include are:

  • Rent
  • Bills
  • Travel
  • Direct debits
  • Food
  • TV license

Once you’ve figured out what your regular costs are, you need to add on the ones that may vary from week to week or month to month. For these, it’s best to see how much money you have left after subtracting the important costs. Then you can designate yourself an allowance for additional costs such as going out, birthdays, etc.

After you’ve subtracted all these costs and personalised them to your needs, figure out whether you’ll have enough to last you until the next student loan comes in. If not, you could pick up a part-time job and gain some extra cash, which many students decide to do.

Many students find it a lot easier to manage their money when they set themselves a limit for a week or month. This way, you’re on top of how much you’re spending.

Ways to save money

One of the many perks of being a student is that you can get a good deal almost everywhere. Signing up to websites like UNiDAYS or Student Beans can keep you up to date on which shops are currently offering good deals.

This also applies to food, as many pubs and restaurants also offer good student deals. So if you feel like treating yourself to a meal, you don’t need to go over your budget.

Don’t stress out too much!

Becoming independent can be both exciting and frightening. If you still feel any anxiety about managing your money whilst at university, there are plenty of resources you can use to help you.

You can download apps that monitor your spending, or why not register with Blackbullion? It’s an award-winning, education technology company which offers free financial advice to students and graduates online.

Find out more about managing your money during your studies at UWE Bristol.

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