As a student, there’s a lot of essential skills you’ll need to pick up and budgeting is absolutely one of them. Whilst budgeting can seem like a bit of a nightmare, there are some tools and techniques you can use to help you ease into it. Using a student budget calculator can give you a helpful boost with your money-saving skills.
The importance of budgeting when at university
Budgeting at university can be a daunting task, but the importance of it cannot be overstated. Most students receive a maintenance loan, and once your rent, bills and weekly shopping have been paid for, it doesn’t usually leave much leftover! Therefore, you’ll need to be able to plan out carefully any extras that you want to spend money on.
Ways to budget
One of the most useful tips for budgeting whilst at university is to set up two bank accounts. One which consists of essential funds for necessitates such as rent, bills and groceries. You’ll then want to set up another one to which you can transfer money to which can be used for takeaways, nights out and other social activities. The challenging part can come with knowing how much money to put aside for essentials and how much you have left to spend on your social life and other extras.
A useful technique for budgeting is to use a calculator or planner to help you estimate your costs. As term times are separated into three, it makes sense to budget for a semester at a time. This should also coincide with you receiving your maintenance loan. Using a budget calculator can help ensure you don’t miscalculate how much you’ll have to spend at certain points of the year, and it can help to establish whether you’ll need to look for a part-time job whilst at university.
Another option is to use a budget tracker, where you’re able to keep tabs on every transaction you make so you know exactly how much is always in your bank account. If you want to be extra cautious, you can use a budget calculator as well as a tracker, which should allow you to always be on top of your finances.
Useful student budget calculators
Thankfully, there are a few different online student budget calculators you can use, with each of them free of charge! Take a look at the following to see which might work best for you:
- UCAS budget calculator – A fundamental service for the majority of students, UCAS provide a free budget calculator on their website which you can use for any UK university. Operated by Which?, the budget calculator lets you pick your university and provides you with a breakdown of the average costs your likely to incur.
- Save the Student calculator – On their website, Save the Student have a useful rent calculator which allows you to input all your average incomings and outgoings, and it will then provide you with an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on rent.
- Yolt – A growing service, which is useful for tracking all your spending habits, Yolt promotes getting into the habit of saving. Yolt allows you to connect your bank accounts so you can keep constant tabs on your incomings and outgoings, which is useful for those who want to track their finances.
- Cleo – If innovative things attract you, Cleo might be the ideal service to help you track your finances. Cleo runs through Facebook and is an AI service that chats with you about your financial management. You can set goals, manage your budget and ask for recommendations and Cleo will lend you a virtual helping hand!
Creating your own budget
Using apps, tools and trackers isn’t for everyone, and some people would rather just create their own budgets than use an external source. The core basis of budgeting is essentially just being able to keep on top of how much money you’ve got coming in and how much you are spending. The bottom line is – don’t spend more than you’ve got coming in!
Remember, you’ll have fixed outgoings that you likely won’t be able to easily alter such as rent, utility bills and direct debits. This means if you need to save more of your income, you’ll have to reduce your spending on other outgoings.