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Budgeting and money management

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Most students have to live on a limited income while at university, so it’s essential that you make a realistic spending plan at the beginning of each year. Budgeting your time, energy and money will help to prevent money worries and help you get the most out of your student experience.  The Money and Guidance Team provide advice and guidance on money related matters and have designed FREE Budget Worksheets, Meal Planners and Shopping Lists for you to download


Work out your budget

It’s really important to draw up and keep to a realistic budget. If you don’t you could get confused over how much money you have coming in and going out. It’s important to work out your budget before you start your studies to make sure you have enough money to live on.

Your student loan will come in three instalments. Planning your budget will help you ensure that your payments cover all the essentials, such as rent, food and other expenses. A simple way of doing this is to:

  • Add up your maintenance loan, any bursaries you receive, money from family members if they send you money regularly and any regular income you get from a part-time job.
  • Put aside the money you need for essentials like rent and utility bills (if in private accommodation).
  • Divide what you have left by the number of weeks the money will need to last.
  • Use your overdraft for emergencies only.

Budget extras

When working out your student budget remember to include:

  • Socialising/entertainment.
  • Travelling to see your family and friends at home.
  • Your mobile phone and any streaming services you might be signed up to.
  • The cost of securing your accommodation for the next academic year, as you may need to pay a deposit to letting agencies in the spring/summer terms to ensure that you have somewhere to live next year.

Banking apps to help you manage your budget

Make sure you stick to your budget and don’t overspend by using online banking apps to help manage your money. There are lots of apps out there, but a few we’d recommend are:

Money saving bots to help you save

Money saving bots make it easier than ever to put money away for a rainy day. Using some clever maths, money saving bots can assess your spending, decide how much you can afford to save, and put it away for you. All you have to do is give the app access to your bank account (read-only), and it'll take care of the rest.

There are a few bots out there, but we'd recommend Chip as it's currently the only one to offer interest on your savings.

Use a Budget Planner to help you stay on track

The Money and Guidance Team have designed FREE Budget Worksheets, Meal Planners and Shopping Lists for you to download

Alternatively, check out this useful guide from Money Saving Expert and handy budget planner from Save The Student

Student Budgeting Planner

Just add your income and outgoings following the column headings (or customise your own). The spreadsheet will then do the calculations for you and track whether you're living within your means each month.

Improve your money skills

Learning how to manage your money is an important life skill. Staffs offers a wide range of support to help you develop essential money skills and get confident about your finances. If you want to learn more and master the art of juggling your money while at university you could:

Attend a FREE Budget Workshop with the Money & Guidance Team.

Check out The Student Money Manual put together by the Money Charity, which offers handy tips and advice on how to stay on top of your finances throughout your studies and beyond.


Email the Money & Guidance Team or the Students' Union Advice Centre (Tel. 01782 294629) or pop to their reception above the Ember Lounge) to arrange to speak to an Advisor.