How to keep on top of your finances at uni
Whilst university is one of the most exciting times of your life, getting your head around your uni finances can seem somewhat overwhelming. However, with these simple top tips - that have been tried and tested - you need not worry.
1. Work out what money you have
Before you begin your first term, work out what money you have. Most students have a maintenance loan (and the amount varies dependent on personal circumstances) so make sure you are aware of how much you are eligible for. It’s also a good idea to check whether you can receive a grant, bursary or a scholarship from your university. You may have other sources of income from your parents, a job or savings. By adding all of this together, it gives you a sense of how much you have and how much you can spend.
2. Have two bank accounts
It’s worth looking into having two accounts; one for necessary outgoings, such as rent, food and car or mobile phone insurance, and another for ‘luxury’ outgoings like going out, sport activities and holidays. You can transfer a set amount into the second account each week or month. This will make you aware of your spending, but also means you have enough money for your essential outgoings.
3. Budget, budget, budget
After working out how much money you have coming in, budgeting is an important, yet easy, way to keep track of your finances and your spending on a day to day basis. The word ‘budgeting’ can seem mind-boggling, however there are plenty of useful budgeting sheets and apps available that can help you out when creating your own budget.
4. Keep track of spending
The best way to stay chilled out when dealing with your finances is to keep track of your spending. Use your budget and online banking (where you can access your bank statements) to keep check of how much you’re spending. Check to see if you’re on track with your budget and look out for anything unusual or unexpected.
5. Be aware of getting caught out
For example, avoid cash machines that charge you for using them, watch out for prices of clubs and bars on non-student nights, and be aware of breaking or losing your valuables. It might even be worth thinking about insurance for your possessions.
6. Consider discounts
Lastly, buying a TOTUM card can save you money on food, railcards, clothes and more. Many universities have local discount cards which are worth buying since they can save you money on bars, hairdressers and on food too!
With these tips, you’ll feel at ease knowing you can keep on top of your finances and can instead start focusing on the slightly more exciting aspects to university life.