While university is one of the most exciting times of your life, getting your head around your student budget probably won’t be your favourite part.
After all, it’s no secret that students aren’t the most wealthy of people – not only are they paying for their tuition fees, but they’re also covering their accommodation costs, food, books and an active social life all at the same time.
That’s where your student budget comes in, as keeping on top of your finances could be the key to a stress-free student life.
Here are some tips to organise your uni budget so you can treat yourself now and then, completely guilt free!
5 ways to make the most of your student money
1. Take stock of your finances
Before you do anything else, it’s important to work out how much money you have at uni – luckily, there are plenty of useful student budgeting spreadsheets and apps available to help you calculate your uni budget!
• Most students will take a maintenance loan, so make sure you know how much you are eligible for. • Don’t forget you may be able to receive a grant, bursary or a scholarship from your university - so do your research • Factor in any other sources of income, such as money from your parents, a part-time job or savings.
Adding all of this together will give you a sense of how much money you have in your student budget and how much you can spend while you’re at university.
Top tip: Set up direct debits for all your recurring payments each month, such as your phone bill, rent and utilities. This will leave any money left over as guilt-free spends, so you can treat yourself to a cinema trip or meal out without worrying about the strain on your wallet!
2. Keep an eye on your overdraft
While the maintenance loan may seem like enough money to keep you going for a few months, you may be surprised by how quickly you get through it. Therefore you may opt for a student overdraft to offer a bit of padding when money’s tight towards the end of the semester.
But while overdrafts can be extremely useful with interest-free offers for students, as soon as you graduate these interest rates can ramp up very quickly. The same goes for your student bank account, which will often come with enticing incentives as part of the package.
When choosing your student account, make sure you’re getting what you really need from your bank rather than being seduced by the freebies. If you choose to have a student overdraft, it’s a good idea to check what the rates will be once you graduate so you can factor this into your financial plans post-university.
3. Set up a nest-egg
The best way to stay chilled out when dealing with your student budget is to keep track of your day to day spending and have a small pot of money set aside for any unexpected costs, such as a new text book or social event.
It may even be worth looking into having two bank accounts; one for necessary outgoings, such as rent, food, car and gadget insurance, and another for ‘luxury’ outgoings like meals out and social activities. If you’re disciplined when building up your nest-egg, you might even have enough for a holiday next summer!
4. Consider a part time job at university
Whether getting a student job is right for you will depend on a number of factors, such as your workload, your social life and your location.
But it could be that a part time job – even if it’s only for a few hours a week – gives you the cash injection you need to improve your quality of life at uni, save for a masters or even take a holiday at the end of a tiring semester!
There are all sorts of jobs that could support you while you study – you could work at your university bookshop, for example, or in the local nightclub. Not only will you potentially be able to access some useful discounts, but you might even make some new friends along the way!
5. Don’t be afraid to flash the student card
Who doesn’t love a discount?
In fact, one of the best things about being a student is being able to flash that uni card everywhere you go, just on the off-chance they’ll chuck you a cheeky 5% off.
Not sure whether they’re offering a discount? Try your student card on them anyway - because you just never know!
Top tip: Buying a TOTUM card could save you money on food, railcards, clothes, insurance and more. Many universities also offer their own discount cards for local bars, restaurants, hairdressers and more!
But what about your future finances?
It’s a common misconception you’ll be drowning in student debt as soon as you leave university – but this simply isn’t the case.
Monthly loan repayments are arranged automatically by Student Finance, and the amount of your repayments are based upon how much you earn. This means you won’t be paying back more than you can afford – in fact, it usually comes straight out of your payslip, so you might not even notice when you start paying it back.
The bottom line is all students will have an element of debt, and it might feel like a lot to pay back when you leave university. However, it doesn’t have to be cause for concern – even a loose plan as to how you will make your repayments will make a world of difference to your peace of mind. This could be anything from creating a student budget, to simply thinking about a potential career path for when you leave – a plan, even a vague one, makes a huge impact when it comes to money management.
Will your stuff be protected at uni?
If you’re heading to uni this year, will your belongings be protected? Think about how much you rely on your gadgets and how much you love the things you’ve spent your hard-earned cash on. It makes sense to protect them, right?
At Endsleigh, we make it easy for students like you to understand insurance and most importantly, protect your stuff.
If you’re living in halls, you may already have cover for your belongings. Check to see if you’re covered and confirm your cover here.
If not, you can either grab one of our Everywhere Student Packs, or build your own level of cover. Get a quote today