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Student Hub

Budgeting Tools and Tips


Budgeting is an important life skill.

Planning ahead to spend within your limits, or looking in advance at ways of increasing income or reducing spending, can help to enhance your university experience and avoid money worries.

Use the tools and tips below to help to increase income or reduce your spending. 

Online Budgeting Tools

There are many useful budgeting guides and budgeting tools available on line, here is a selection of a few.  We recommend spending a little time completing a budget for the term or year.

Moving into rented accommodation

Many students move from halls into a shared student house after their first year at university. To avoid problems and to get the best from renting privately, look at the websites below:

Citizens Advice Guide
Factsheet: Problems in shared accommodation

Unipol
Website: Unipol Leeds - Information for students in Leeds

Leeds Beckett Students' Union
You can get your tenancy agreement checked before you sign it at the Student Union Advice Centre.
Website: Students' Union Advice

Gov.uk
Find out about how your Tenancy Deposit is protected

Shelter
For information and advice on all housing matters call Shelter on 0808 800 4444
Website: Shelter

Bank Accounts

A useful guide to opening a student bank account is provided by Martin Lewis on his Money Saving Expert site.

Link: Money Saving Expert

Work

Can you work part-time during term or full-time during holidays?
Website: Job Shop

Are you entitled to any tax credits or welfare benefits?
Website: Benefit and Tax Credits

Have you overpaid tax on a holiday job?
Link: Student Jobs and Tax

Earnings

Earnings from part-time, temporary or casual employment will not affect your student support award.

The Minimum Wage

The Minimum Wage is updated each year. From 1st October 2015 it is £5.30 an hour for people aged between 18 and 20; £6.70 an hour for people aged 21 and over.
Website: Minimum Wage

Income Tax

Student loans, grants and other allowances are not taxable, and students have a tax-free personal allowance just like anyone else which is £11,000 in 2016/17.

Website: HMRC Personal Allowances

Other useful links:
Tax Guide for Students
Obtaining a Tax Refund

Tuition Fees

Have you taken out a loan to pay your fees? 

Most full-time and part-time undergraduate students do not need to pay tuition fees upfront.  You can apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England.  Students from other EU Countries can also apply for a tuition fee loan.

Apply online: Gov.uk

If you are paying tuition fees yourself, you can find out more about our payment terms from Financial Services.
Link: Tuition Fees Payment

Our Tuition Fee Policy can be found on our website under General Regulations
Link: Leeds Beckett Student Regulations

Course costs

Before you start your course ask your course administrator what extra expenses you can expect for example; field trips or placements, so that you can build them into your budget.

  • Use Audio-Visual Loans at the university for any AV equipment  that you might need.
  • Where possible use the library for text books, or buy second hand rather than new textbook.
Food
  • Buy fresh produce rather than pre-prepared meals; it is healthier and cheaper.
  • Buy in bulk and use supermarket own brands.
  • Take advantage of supermarket offers.
  • Cook with friends and share meals and costs.
  • Make your own sandwiches for lunch.
  • Shop around
  • Money Advice Service Smarter Shopping
Electricity and Gas

Make sure you inform the fuel companies of the day you move in and out of a property.

Take meter readings and keep a record.

Arrange to pay bills monthly or weekly so that costs don't mount up. Check your bills for ways to pay.

If you live in a shared house, make sure everyone's names are on the bill - don't end up liable for the whole bill on your own.

Find out about switching energy suppliers at Ofgem's site.
Link: Goenergyshopping

Check out the money saving tips from the Energy Saving Trust.
Link: Energy Saving Trust

Struggling to pay an energy bill:
Link: Citizens Advice

Water

Water may be included in your rent. If not, inform Yorkshire Water of the day you move in and the day you move out, so that you do not end up paying someone else's bill.

You can make arrangements to pay by instalments, both for metered and unmeasured supplies.

Link: Yorkshire Water

Overdue water bill? You can't be cut off but you can be taken to court.

Link: Ofwat - Problems with your bill

TV Licence

A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50. Fines for using a TV, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV, without a licence can be as much as £1,000 - and you will still have to buy a licence.
Check if you need a TV Licence

You may be able to get a refund of some of your licence fee during the summer if you go away. See the 'students' section on the TV Licensing website.
Students and TV Licences

Travel

If you use public transport you may want to take advantage of a weekly or monthly pass:

Bus
  • Student MCard
    A Student MCard from Metro costs £22.20 per week or £84.00 per month and allows unlimited travel on bus and limited rail travel in West Yorkshire. You must be aged under 22 or a full-time student.
  • First Buses
    You can get special student rates for bus travel on First Buses within the centre of Leeds, either throughout Leeds or within the 'Green Zone'.

Rail

  • Railcard
    If you are aged 16-25 or a full-time student over 25 you can get a 16-25 Railcard and save a third on train fares in the UK.
NHS Charges

If you are under 19 and studying full-time you can still get free health benefits, e.g. prescriptions and dental treatment.

Almost all other students will have to apply on Claim Form HC1 for help to reduce the cost of NHS charges on the basis of low income.

You can get an HC1 from your doctor, dentist or optician. You can also order an HC1 form by contacting the Health Cost advice line on 0845 850 1166.

See the information leaflet HC11 for more details.

Leaflet: HC11

Insurance

Think about insuring your belongings, they could be expensive to replace.

First check to see if you are covered under your parents' policy.

There are several insurance schemes designed specifically for students. For example; the NUS are partners with Endsleigh Insurance

Our university can offer students free comprehensive travel insurance for University related travel outside of the UK such as placements, field trips and University volunteering trips. Insurance cover can be provided for up to four week holidays if a student is staying in the same country as the university related travel.

Telephone
  • Do your research before signing a mobile phone contract.
  • Ask around to find what the best mobile phone deals are.
  • If you have a monthly limit on texts, calls and internet use, find out what it is and stay within it to avoid extra charges.
  • Make sure you know about what you are being charged for your call, some numbers can be more expensive.
  • Protect your mobile phone and other property

Link: Citizens' Advice Guide

Broadband

Find out about your rights when buying a TV, Internet and Phone package:
Which? Guide to Broadband

Find out about broadband speed:
Broadband speeds

Consumer Rights

Knowing your rights under consumer law could save you money.
Consumer Rights

To get help and advice about your rights phone Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06
Citizens Advice Consumer Service

Students in Higher Education also have consumer rights
Higher Education: Guide to Consumer Rights for Students

Discounts

Get an NUS card for a huge range of discounts on loads of great things from food and drink, to clothes, travel and shopping:
NUS Extra Card
Discount voucher websites can help you save money, but be wary of being persuaded to buy something that you wouldn't otherwise have bought.

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