When coming to university, there is a lot to think about and budgeting should be on your priority list. With the cost of living increasing and maintenance loans not keeping up, it is important to budget sensibly.
Whether you are just starting at university, halfway through or looking at whether you can afford to go on placement, here are the things you need to think about.
What is your income – Create a document or use our budgeting form below and write down your income. This will help you set up your expenditure. If on SFE, then remember that your Maintenance Loan comes in 3 big instalments, so learning to budget and keep on top of things is a must. Income to consider:
Outgoings – on your spreadsheet include estimates of all your expenses, you can look at your bank statements to get a good idea of what your spending looks like. T
Things to consider. but not limited to:
- Rent – Your main expenditure and one of the most important ones after having paid your tuition. Make sure it is always paid on time.
- Bills – utility bills (gas, electric, water), Council Tax (how to get an exemption), internet, TV Licence, mobile phone.
If the utility bills are not included with your rent, use comparison websites to find the best deal for you – just keep in mind that some of these websites may be sponsored by energy companies, so take a good look around before you commit. The same applies to ISPs and mobile providers. Especially with the latter, you can get monthly roll-on contracts for quite cheap, where they offer a generous data allowance. The only thing to check here is roaming, if you need it, as some mobile contract providers may offer it as an extra or under specific contracts, so make sure you do your research if you can use your data allowance abroad. Finally, TV Licence – you have to pay it even if you watch TV on Demand or streaming the main UK TV channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (inclusive of all their subsidiaries e.g., BBC4, E4, etc.), through your phone, tablet, laptop/PC. The fines are dear so make sure you get one.
- Groceries – check for your nearest grocer/supermarket if they have a rewards scheme. Most do and can save you loads. There are also apps that help with groceries like Food-to-go
- Transport – Local transport companies that serve Warwick University directly are Stagecoach and National Express, however, depending on where you are travelling from, there may be different ones. Make sure you get a student bus pass and/or a 16-25 Railcard. Bus passes are usually cheaper if on monthly direct debits but there may be months that you will be away for 2 weeks or more, so remember to suspend the direct debit by calling the company or just cancel it and restart it (takes 14 days to start a DD so make sure it is done on time). If you own a car, the university strongly encourages you to leave it at home due to the shortage of parking on campus but if you do bring your car you will need to consider your car costs - tax, insurance, fuel, parking and maintenance cost.
- University material – study textbooks, if you only need them for an assignment, see if you can borrow them from a library or get them used and resell it.
- Others to consider:
- Contents insurance - for laptops, phones etc.
- Socials - drinking and eating out
- Hobbies and entertainment (including cinemas/clubs)
- Clothing, Grooming - haircuts etc.
- Subscriptions (Sports/Gym, Spotify, Netflix etc.)
- Festive gifts - religious celebrations & birthdays etc.
- Medications - Possible discounts available.
It is important to keep an eye out for these types of expenses as they can easily lead to financial hardship. They are usually low monthly payments but could end up paying as much as £150 to £200 monthly just on subscriptions alone. As for the nights out, if you go to a pub/bar/club that accepts NUS discounts, don’t hesitate to use them.
- Totum card and UniDays/Student Beans – Totum card is what used to be called the NUS card. Totum, UniDays and student beans provide several student discounts so they are worth taking a look at.
Once you have all your income and outgoings written down, subtract your outgoings from your income and you will have a clearer picture of your financial situation. Remember to divide your figures into monthly or weekly amounts and make sure you do not go over that amount to avoid financial hardship.
Best money resources for students - Save the Student
Student bus pass guide - Save the Student
16-25 Railcard | Only £30 | National Rail