Preparing a budget
Visit our online Student Calculator to help you build your budget and manage your money.
When creating a budget, please
- 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 Entitlement Letter to make sure you’re receiving the full Student Loan to which you are entitled
- Keep all pay slips and check your bank statements regularly.
- Keep a list of your expenditure - this will help you to keep your spending 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 in unnecessary expenditure.
- If you are living in University halls, 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 to have available at least £800 and potentially more to cover your deposit and your first month's rent.
When creating a budget, please
- Use ATM machines on a daily basis as you will find your money disappearing unless you can keep control of your spending. Some ATM's will also make a withdrawal charge - it's surprising how these can add up!
- 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 instalment.
- Overstretch your income by taking up accommodation that is too costly.
- Ignore letters from banks or creditors.
- Be afraid to seek advice - either from your bank, creditors or the Student Funding Service in the Student Services Centre (Room J207 - 2nd floor of J Building).
- Set up direct debit or standing order payments without ensuring that you have enough money in your account to cover these payments. Your bank can charge you around £30-£50 for a declined payment.
The Student Funding Service provide 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 if you would like to arrange one of these sessions.
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. Our Employability Service have details of some of the part-time work available in the local area.
Blackbullion provides you free access to a number of pathways, articles and tools to support your financial wellbeing, such as:
- Top 10 money tips
- Building an emergency fund
- Paying off debts
- Financial wellbeing
- Budget calculator
- 21 days of savings
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 final year student. For more information on the fund please contact the Student Funding Service.