Budgeting Basics

One of the best feelings in the world is seeing your bank account after your loan comes in. One of the worst is realising how quickly it’s going to run out. Fear not, though, there are plenty of ways for a finance savvy student to stay on top of their money. Here’s our rundown of some of the budgeting basics that can help keep money woes off your mind during your studies.

1. Work out your cost of living

After you’ve spent a few months living the student life you can begin to work out how much you’re going to spend throughout the rest of the year and where you can make a few savings.

Our handy chart below gives you an idea of the amount you might expect to pay for your essentials – everyone has different spending habits so don’t worry if you think you'll be way over or under some of these estimates. Quickly jot down what you actually think you’re spending against these estimates then plot them onto a spreadsheet. If spreadsheets aren’t your thing then there are tons of simple and useful apps you can use to plot your spending and visualise in a way that’s helpful to you:



 Cost Per Week 


 £96 - £236



Study Materials 

 £5 - 10 



TV Licence 


Mobile Phone & Internet Costs 



 £20 - £50 

Misc (Toiletries/Clothes etc.) 


2. Write out your income and take away your cost of living

You should have been sent your loan payment schedule by Student Finance before you arrived. If you haven’t already then add up your total loan and add in any wages, grants or parental support that you’re receiving.  

Next, take away your spending estimates from it. That will give you an idea of how much you have to work with.

If you have a student bank account with an overdraft then you should now be able to figure out how long it will last you. Lots of students rely on their overdrafts to tie them over between loan payments and it’s probably the only time you’ll get credit without having to pay interest.

Just remember though, your overdraft isn’t free money and you will have to pay it back eventually so the less you use of it, the easier it will be to clear it when you graduate.

3. What changes can I make?

Even if you’re lucky enough to have an income that is higher than your cost of living, everyone can benefit from a few cutbacks -

  • Would walking or biking to Uni a few days a week save you some cash?
  • Try turning one of your weekly nights out into a night in and you’ll be surprised how much it leaves you with.
  • Batch cooking and planning your meals in advance instead of nightly takeaways can make a big difference to your wallet (and your health!).

For some of you, the need to get a job will seem more and more pressing. Work out how many hours you can afford to give without affecting your studies and have a think about what kinds of work you’d be good at. Bar and restaurants are in no short supply and there’s always work available through the Leeds Beckett Jobshop.

With a bit of forward planning you can usually weather any financial situation. If things still seem unmanageable then the Students’ Union or University Money Advice teams are always available to help you work through your situation.

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By Accommodation Office
09 Nov 2021
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