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Budgeting advice

The government's Student Calculator can be used to help you build your budget and manage your money.

If your income is less than your expenditure you might want to look at ways to cut down or increase your income by finding part-time work.

If you can't cut down on your expenditure any further then you may be entitled to seek help from the St Mary’s University Hardship Fund, especially if you are a lone parent or a final year student. For more information about the fund please contact the Student Funding Officer in the Student Services Centre, or email

The Student Funding Service also provide termly sessions in Money Management. These can help students in all aspects of finances, from making sure your Student Finance packages are up to date and correct, to help in making and keeping a budget to help you with your living expenses. Contact the Student Funding Service to sign up to the next session.

Top Tips


  • Try to be realistic with your budget.
  • Make sure you enter all essential expenditure.
  • Ensure you pay all priority bills such as rent, utility bills etc as you can be evicted for non-payment of rent or your utility supplies could be disconnected.
  • Check your Student Support Notification to make sure you receive the full Student Loan to which you are entitled.
  • Keep all payment slips and check your bank statements regularly.
  • Keep a list of your expenditure - this will help you to keep your expenditure down.
  • Only use your credit card in emergencies - remember the bill will have to be paid eventually and you don't want to incur interest charges. These can build up and cost you hundreds of pounds!
  • If you are living on campus, try to take all the meals that are available to you rather than pay for takeaways.
  • Take advantage of any student discounts.
  • Check your tenancy agreements to see what bills are included.
  • Try to make sure that your housemates are reliable if you intend to house-share in your second year, as any unpaid rent may fall back on the other tenants.
  • Remember that you may need at least £1,000 to cover your deposit and your first month's rent.

Do not...

  • Don't use ATMs on a daily basis as you will find your money disappearing unless you can keep control of your spending. Some ATMs will also make a withdrawal charge - it's surprising how these can add up!
  • Don't overspend in the first term - it is very tempting to "spend, spend, spend" when you have a large amount paid into your bank account - but remember that it has to last you until your next loan/grant.
  • Don't overstretch your income by taking up accommodation that is too costly.
  • Don't ignore letters from banks or creditors.
  • Don't be afraid to seek advice - either from your bank, creditors or the Student Funding Officer in the Student Services Centre (J Building, 2nd floor). 
  • Don't use your debit card for purchases without checking your bank balance. Your bank may charge you for a declined payment.