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Budgeting Tools and Tips

Budgeting is a life skill.

Plan ahead, find out if you can increase your income and cut down on spending.  This will help you enjoy your time at university and avoid money worries.

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

Plus Icon Online Budgeting Tools

There are lots of budgeting calculators on line, here is a selection of a few.  

Spend a little time doing a budget for the year.

Plus Icon 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 UK countries can also apply for a tuition fee loan.  EU students with settled or pre-settled status and meeting relevant residency requirements can also be eligible for a tuition fee loan.

Apply online: Student Finance

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

Ou Tuition Fee Policy can be found on our website under General Regulations
Leeds Beckett Student Regulations

Plus Icon 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.
Plus Icon Work

Can you get Universal Credit or other benefits? Not usually as a full-time student, but if you have children or have a disability you might be able to.

More information about benefits: Benefits

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

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

The Minimum Wage
As of April 2021 the minimum wage is £6.56 if you are between 18 and 21 years old, £8.36 if you are between 21 and 25, and £8.91 if you are over 25.

Government Website: Minimum Wage

Income Tax
Students, like anyone else, can earn up to £12,570 without paying income tax.  Your student loans and grants are not included, because they are not taxable.

Government Website: HMRC Personal Allowances

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

Plus Icon Moving into rented accommodation

Many students move from halls into a shared student house after their first year. 

Have a look at the webpages to below to help you avoid problems and get the best from renting privately.

Citizens Advice Guide
Factsheet: Problems in shared accommodation

Website: Unipol Leeds - Information for students in Leeds

Leeds Beckett Students' Union
Get your tenancy agreement checked before you sign it at Students' Union Advice
Find out about how your Tenancy Deposit is protected

There is lots of information and advice on all renting issues on the Shelter website.

Plus Icon Bank Accounts

Get all the ins and outs of opening a student bank account on the Money Saving Expert site.

Money Saving Expert

If you require a letter from the university to open a student bank account, you can visit our official letters page for more information and to request a bank letter.
Plus Icon 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

Plus Icon 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.

If not already in place, consider a smart meter (many utility companies will offer to provide this for free) to keep close track of daily/weekly usage and help budget.

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 on the Citzens Advice site.
Compare Gas and Electricity Prices

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

Struggling to pay an energy bill:
Citizens Advice

Plus Icon 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.

Contact Yorkshire water (if within their customer area) Yorkshire Water

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

Further information when there are problems with your bill Ofwat

Plus Icon TV Licence

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. If you do any of the above without a valid licence, you risk prosecution and a maximum penalty of up to £1,000, plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. You will also still have to buy a TV Licence if you need one. To find out more, go to There isn't a student discount but if you don't need you licence for a full 12 months, you can apply for a refund for any unused months.

How can I buy a TV Licence?
There are lots of different ways to buy a TV Licence. Whether that’s through weekly cash payments, using your nearest PayPoint outlet, spreading the cost with monthly, quarterly or yearly direct debit, credit/debit card or by post – just choose the one that suits you best. For more information on the ways to pay, go to

If I live in halls, won’t I already be covered by a TV Licence?
Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you're plugged in to watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls' manager to see if they’re covered by a halls' licence.

What if I live in a shared house?
You'll probably only need one licence between you if you have a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house – this is the most common type of shared house arrangement. You might need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained. That means you have exclusive access to washing facilities, or your own entrance to the property. You will also need your own licence if you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room. If you're not sure, check our advice for tenants and lodgers.

Won't my parents' licence cover me?
Your parents' licence will not cover you while you're away at uni unless you only use a device that's powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.

What if I'm not at uni for the summer?
If you're leaving your halls or rented accommodation and moving back home for the summer, there's a good chance you won't need your TV Licence if there's one at home. You can see our policy and apply for a refund online.

What if I don’t need a licence?
If you don’t need a TV Licence, we would ask you to let TV Licensing know so that they can update their details. They won’t then send you any letters for approximately two years.

Plus Icon Travel

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

  • Student MCard
    A 19-25 or Student Photo MCard from Metro allows countywide travel and costs £25.60 per week or £95.10 per month and allows unlimited travel on bus and limited rail travel in West Yorkshire. Or, a Bus only Photo Mcard will cost £16.50 per week or £61.30 per month.
  • First Buses
    You can get special student rates for bus travel around Leeds on First Buses. Offer of £35 monthly on the First Bus App.
  • There is a £1.20 fare per journey on the First Bus App on buses running between Headingley and Leeds University on services 1,6/8,27,28 and 56, the University Single Fare Journey


  • 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.
Plus Icon 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 access the form online.

See the NHS information page for more details 

Plus Icon Insurance

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

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

Endsleigh offer insurance tailored for students.

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.

Plus Icon 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

Plus Icon Broadband

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

Find out about broadband speed and Ofcom information:
Broadband speeds

Plus Icon 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 08082231133
Citizens Advice Consumer Service

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

Plus Icon Discounts

Get a Totum card for a huge range of discounts on loads of great things from food and drink, to clothes, travel and shopping.

Totum is the only student discount, proof of age ID and campus life platform recommended by the National Union of Students.  It is the new name for what was NUS Extra 

Discount voucher websites can help you save money, but be wary of being persuaded to buy something that you wouldn't otherwise have bought.

This page was last modified: 24/06/2021

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