THE BLOG
22/09/2015 14:30 BST | Updated 22/09/2016 06:12 BST

Top Tips on How to Start Budgeting at University

The odds are you've never budgeted before. What's more, I can predict you'd probably prefer to suffer a Game of Thrones-style death than even think about budgeting. University is all about fun and new life experiences - discussing and working out your financial situation is something that is certainly seems to put a dampener on the situation.

But the more you budget, the more fun you can have. Trust me, it's too easy to be put in a situation where you have used up all the money you have for the next six weeks and only have two tins of beans and a mouldy bit of bread left. You're not going to be going out clubbing or having a stress free time if that happens.

And it's easy! It really is. I'm not going to tell you to not go out every night in freshers week (you should - make the most of freshers' week!) or not to buy new computer equipment etc, it's just making sure you know exactly what you have and how much you can spend.

Draw up a budget

You've never had this much right? It looks like a big amount AND look at that massive overdraft. But, students, you have to make your loan stretch for the full calendar year.

First off. you need to know what your income is. How much is coming in each month from your loan, bursaries, grants, jobs, parents etc? Once you've figured out that, you know what you have to work with.

From that amount, take away regular essentials:

Deposit: You've sorted that already right? Well no. You'll also have to consider that you'll probably have to pay the deposit for next year's accommodation before they receive this year's back.

Food: The average student will spend between £30 and £40 a week on food at university. It doesn't sound like a huge amount, but you can eat properly on that.

University essentials: Make sure you put enough money away to pay for course materials, technology (laptops/external hard drives), as well as travel costs such as buses into uni, or train fares back home for Christmas etc.

After the 'essentials,' what's left is what you get to play with!

Supplement your income

It's not a secret that students are skint. The amount you have extra to use on non-essentials is going to be pretty small. What if something goes wrong? What if you need extra cash? It makes sense to supplement your income with either a summer job or a part time role.

If possible, try and get a student union role (bar work usually), as they will be most understanding of your educational needs.

If a formal job isn't for you, did you know that companies will pay you to buy booze from newsagents or tweet certain things if you have enough followers?

Get financial help

The main reason for you to stick to a budget is because you won't have to go and get expensive loans. If you're considering a payday loan, or are seriously struggling to get by make sure you find out if there is help available.

Go to your university financial support team, as they can advice you on whether you are able to get statutory funding from Student Finance Authorities such as Student Finance England and Bursaries and scholarships. Do not presume you are not entitled to anything - it's always worth a shot.