The biggest and most important bit of advice we can give you is to budget properly. An honest and practical budget will help you to avoid overspending and will also make it easier to plan for the future. Keeping a daily track of the items you buy will give you an idea of how much money you are actually spending and will assist you with setting a realistic budget.
Remember, our Student Financial Support Team are on hand to give you any extra help and advice you need. If you do find yourself in financial trouble, it’s vitally important you speak to someone. Ignoring the problem will only make things worse, and we really can support you with any financial problems.
Planning your budget
We recommend you work out your budget on a weekly basis because it’s the easiest to keep track of – but there’s nothing wrong with working out yearly, monthly or even daily budgets too, if that’s best for you. It will all help you to keep your finances in order.
Whichever way you choose to calculate your budget, be really thorough. An incomplete or inaccurate budget could result in your finances getting out of your control. Take your time and list everything – you won’t regret it.
Step one: Work out your income
Figure out exactly – to the penny – what money you have coming in. Only include money that you are absolutely certain you will receive. And be aware of how and when you will receive your money – for example if you have a part-time job are you being paid weekly or monthly? Do you receive termly loan payments? Is this topped up by a weekly or monthly contribution from your parents?
Step two: Work out your expenditure
Start by working out how much you spend on the essentials – rent, food, bills, and travel costs. We’ve put together a guide on the cost of living as a student in Nottingham which will help. Once you’ve done this you'll know how much you have left over for other expenses, such as entertainment and clothes. How much you spend on these will vary person to person, but these are areas where it's possible to make savings.
Step three: The balance
Once you’ve added up all your incomings and outgoings, what do you have left? If you have some money left over, don’t just rush to spend it! Consider putting this surplus away in a savings account. It can be really useful to have some money tucked away for emergencies.
Step four: Keeping track of your finances
The amount you spend each month – and possibly your incomings, too – are bound to change, so keep checking your budget and revising the figures. By doing this, you’ll keep on top of your finances, leaving you free to enjoy your time at university, which is the main thing!