Feeling out of sorts when it comes to finances? Here are some resources to get you started. There is no right way to budget, but hopefully these tips will help.
1. Set Up a Bank Account
- If you are an international student or moving up to Scotland, there are several online based banks that are quick and easy to set up.
- You should be able to establish a bank account at any major bank with reduced or free fees as a student.
2. Determine a budget plan that works for you. There are many budgeting apps and resources available to help you manage your finances:
If you do not want an app, the UCAS budget calculator is a good place to start.
Also pick up our ENSA budgeting flyer and meal planner - printed copies are available on the ENSA stalls in the campus foyers.
Some people work better on their laptop using a spreadsheet; this could be something you create yourself, or fill in with a template.
Planning your budget
1. Determine your income. Look at how much money you will have coming in during the month. If you have an irregular income, look at what you have made the last few months and list the lowest amount as this month’s planned incoming budget. You can adjust later in the month if things change.
Your income could include things such as:
- Student loan
- Any grants, bursaries, sponsorships, or scholarships you are eligible for
- Familial Contributions
- Any income from part-time jobs
- Any savings you are planning to use at university
2. Determine your expenses. Here is a list of common expenses students face:
- Tuition fees
- Accommodation costs
- Course supplies
- Contents insurance (you could be covered on your parents' home insurance – check with them)
- Mobile phone
- TV licence
- Food shopping
- Council tax - Note that most students are exempt from this.
- Social gatherings
- Societies and clubs
- Clothes, haircuts
- Books and magazines
- Fixed Subscriptions: gym, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify
Month specific expenses
- Celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries
- Seasonal purchases
- Semi-annual expenses: Do you pay your auto insurance twice a year? Do you need an oil change next month?
- Annual expenses: Is it time for your yearly eye exam? Family Holidays?
- If your loans are accruing interest while you study, budget in a small payment towards the loan with the largest interest rate each month.
3. Calculate your budget. Subtract the total of your outgoings from your expected income, then divide it by the number of weeks your budget needs to cover.
4. After establishing a budget, begin contemplating goals.
- If you have loans, think about making a small monthly payment on loan with the highest interest.
- Set up an emergency fund.
Tips for effective budgeting
- Set up pots or separate accounts for savings and rent/bills
- You may have the option to set aside money into high interest accounts with your bank. This could be a fantastic way to accrue a small amount of passive income through the term.
- Find a savings method that works for you e.g. Piggybank method, envelope method
- Make the process fun and ask for friends to keep you accountable
- Limit splurges to the end of the month.