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Moving away from home can be challenging in many ways, but being in charge of your own money can be one of the trickiest ones. In fact, in our recent survey, 37% of UK students found it difficult to manage their finances and budget effectively when living away from home.

So, how do you actually manage your money wisely whilst you are at university? Well, we’re here to reveal all of our secrets. Check out our answers to the most popular student budgeting questions below…

Why do I need to budget at university?

First and foremost, budgeting at university is important to ensure your income stretches the entirety of your time away from home. If your only income is your student loan, you will need to make sure it lasts all the way until your next payment. No one wants to be hunting down the side of the sofa for spare change!

How much money do I need for university?

According to recent surveys, the average living cost of a student living away from home is £924 per month. Of course, this is entirely dependent on your lifestyle – if you have takeaways twice a week and become a regular at the local pub, you can expect those living costs to increase dramatically.

What should a university budget include?

When you are looking to create your own budget, the first thing you need to consider is all of your fixed monthly outgoings.

Fixed monthly outgoings include:

Once you have totaled this up, you need to move on to your variable outgoings. For this, we will just focus on the essentials to begin with. Take an average figure if you’re not sure. And no, takeaways don’t count as essential (sorry!).

Once you have a figure for those, add them together, and this total is your essential monthly costs.

Take this away from your monthly income (student loan and any additional income) and you have discovered your disposable income. This leftover figure is what you can afford to spend on your hobbies, social and leisure activities, clothing, décor (did someone say house plant!?), and yes, even takeaways.

If this figure isn’t what you expected, or doesn’t seem enough to live comfortably on, there are things you can do to ensure you remain secure whilst at university...

How do I make sure I don’t run out of money?

If your budget is looking a little unhealthy, it’s time to delve into your banking app and see where your precious pennies are going. Most banks will help you decipher where you are spending your money by categorising your outgoings into handy groups, including ‘eating out’, ‘grocery shopping’, and ‘entertainment’. Taking a closer look into these records can help you identify areas where you can reduce your unnecessary spending.

For example, if you see that £100 of your monthly outgoings is attributed to eating out, why not set a goal to half that by next month? This will add an extra £50 to your savings pot, making sure you have a safety net in case of any unexpected bills. If you do this over a few categories of non-essential spending, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy budget plan.

How can I make my money stretch further at university?

If you are relying on your student loan to get you through your time at university, but it seems as though it won’t be enough, there are a few ways you can boost your budget.

So, now you have the answers to the most commonly asked questions, are you ready to become a budgeting maestro? Remember, always speak to your student union or a reliable information source if you need help with money during your time at university. They are there to help!

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