The cost of living and managing your student finances
“Studying at university offers so many amazing opportunities such as learning new skills in a subject you love, gaining new experiences and broadening your mind. It also pushes you into the world of financial independence.
“Depending on your lifestyle and any financial commitments you might have, your cost of living will be unique to you. It’s important to recognise that going to university doesn’t mean cutting out all of your interests and extra commitments; you can still enjoy going out for a meal with your friends and splurging on that coffee from your favourite shop. However, it’s important to manage your money effectively, and to consider your expected living costs before, throughout and after your degree.
“Create a budget
“A good start is to identify your essential living expenses. Consider what your costs will look like for you: do you need to pay for accommodation or travel? Does your accommodation require payments for utilities? How much do you want to spend on your food shop? Make a list of your income and your outgoings, which should reveal any inconsistencies and gaps that you may need to fill. UCAS offer a student budget calculator that can give you a rough idea of this. This will allow you to focus on your degree, whilst ensuring that you don’t create extra stress through financial worries.
“Sticking to your budget
“Sticking to your budget can be extremely difficult. Spending money outside of your budget can be very tempting, but your future self will not be happy about it. Ask yourself if you want or need things, and spend your money on the stuff you need first, which will make spending money on your ‘wants’ that much more special. This will not only give you something to look forward to, but will ensure that you don’t go over your budget.
“Support you can access
“There are so many resources out there to help you. You could apply for a Maintenance Loan through the government website, which will help you with your living costs like rent, food, travel books and other expenses. Check for student discounts that are available online and in person at your favourite cafes, restaurants, cinemas, concerts and more. Contact your university’s finance department to see what support they can offer, and express any financial worries you may have, and they will be happy to offer you all the guidance and support you need to enjoy your time at university.