First place to start when drawing yourself up a budget is to work out exactly how much money you’re going to have. I think whether you are paying your rent monthly or by each term (which I would advise you to pick the latter if you get the option), you should always take your total rent for each term off of your student finance instalments. If you still have money left over from this, split this amount over each week for the term.
If you’re a student whose student finance does not even cover their rent (yes, this actually is the case for some people!), or are only left with a very small amount of finance after rent, now is the time to start assessing other options. Talk to your parents/guardians about them possibly lending you some money over the year to help you pay for food and other necessities. The amount you get will obviously depend on each individual. Part time jobs may need to be something you need to factor into your budget, or an option you my need to look into in order to support yourself well throughout your degree.
Once you have confirmed the amount of money you are receiving (through various sources) throughout the year, and have split that into a weekly budget, stick to it. Some people I know set up a separate account with their bank, and each week they would transfer a set amount from their main account into their side one. They then would only spend money from this one account. Another way to monitor your spending if you aren’t a fan of online banking is to use a budgeting app.
A good thing to learn from this, is that although you have a budget doesn’t mean you have to always spend it all! All savings make a big difference, and you can carry over what you don’t spend to the next week and use it for nights out, or special treats, etc.
Making the most of your money is very important with a strict student budget, so my advice to you is to maximise everything you spend. This includes:
- Using student discounts where ever you possibly can – get a NUS extra card, it will give you a discount on everything at the campus shop at UEA including many discounts elsewhere.
- Wherever possible, buy any essential books and equipment second hand.
- Whenever you have the option to walk or cycle, do it. You can save a lot on transport this way.
- When travelling for nights out, always share the taxi if you’re taking one and split the costs.
- Check if some of your belongings can be covered by your family’s insurance.
Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to seek help if you find you need it. UEA has financial advisers specifically for this purpose in the dean of students office and are more than happy to help!