5 Things to Budget Correctly at University
Everyone needs a budget whether we like to admit it or not. Even with a plentiful amount of money to spend every month, it’s easy enough to spend more than planned. The idea is to spend your money on paper first by drawing up a budget so that every pound gets assigned a spending task. Some pounds pay the rent, others cover food and drinks, and so on.
With any budget, there are the budget busters. These are runaway items that are always more difficult to control and quickly become unmanageable when not monitored regularly. Especially if you’re looking to go to Uni in bigger cities such as London, Exeter or even Manchester. The costs can sometimes get on top of you. We have featured a few of those in this article to help students manage their finances at University better.
So, let’s say you’ve opted to go to a scenic University in Exeter. You’ve got the beautiful Cathedral and the Haldon Forest Park which is perfect for University life. Whilst there you’re going to need somewhere to live so you will need to consider Exeter student accommodation. If you’re aiming to be a socialite, you don’t want a place that may embarrass you when people come over. Having a decent studio or flat to relax in after a long day in back-to-back classes allows you to recover before it all starts again tomorrow. Not needing to share cramped quarters with other students quickly makes it a home away from home. You can quietly meditate or listen to the soothing sound of crashing waves on a surround sound system to relax your mind.
For luxury accommodation that is ideally situated for students studying locally, try the Almero Student Mansions. The student-focused provider offers clear information on their website about the cost of each rental property which allows for accurate budgeting. Bear in mind that the cost of utilities will fluctuate.
2. Food & Drink
Food is difficult to budget for. If you’ve cooked for yourself and shopped at supermarkets, then you have a solid idea about how much you eat and what to budget. However, if you’ve barely cooked meals before other than in the microwave, then you may need some help. You could ask your parents for advice based on what they spend per person for meals or fellow students who have some experience cooking for themselves. Being a picky eater or having a focus on organic food will require an enlarged budget.
For drinks, there’s a significant cost difference between buying bottled water and soft drinks. You know what you drink in a given week; budget accordingly.
3. Nights Out & Socialising
The cost of entertainment is so varied that it’s challenging to budget for this. If you’re the kind of person who pays a cover charge to get into a club and drinks heavily, then even one night out a month can quickly get expensive. However, if you’re happier staying in with a movie on Netflix or a TV marathon, then your entertainments costs will be more fixed.
Socialising with a bunch of Uni friends will bump up your spending dramatically. Look for ways to keep the costs in check while having fun. Pick and choose your nights out or set a limit so you can budget properly for it. You cannot afford to have a runaway item in your budget because you’ll be forced to sacrifice something else to get things back on track. Making the choice of what to cut out won’t make you happy if you turn into a party animal on the weekends!
4. Clothes and Footwear
Clothes and sometimes to a greater extent, shoes, can be a major budget buster. Whether it’s the right set of trainers for the gents or the ladies insisting on the necessity of five little black dresses and several pairs of almost identical shoes to match; this will quickly drain your cash. The only way to refrain from the shopping habit is to set a hard budget and stick to it. If you really cannot help yourself, then you may have to cut back in other areas to make the numbers work – check out this blog from Superdry.
Whilst most accommodation has broadband internet (some charge extra for the service), you’ll also need to stay connected when away from home. Whether being notified about a change in class venue or time, sending in your submissions electronically, or collaborating with fellow students, staying connected via 4G LTE or 3G is essential.
Mobile Internet can get expensive in the UK depending on which provider you choose and the tariff you sign up for. You can get a contract if your credit score is good enough or use a pay-as-you-go plan. Plan generously for the amount of data you’re likely to use and budget right. Compare different providers with coverage in the city you’ll be staying in. Find the best deal for your planned usage level. Also, consider the need to use a hotspot to share the net with your smartphone, tablet or laptop at the same time and whether the plan supports this facility.
Budgeting correctly is critically important when attending University because you must avoid running out of money before the end of the study year. Making up the difference with extra work might be possible, but competition for local part-time jobs is fierce. It’s better to stay on budget than to need to take yourself away from your studies to financially stay afloat.