Budgeting Tips

Budgeting Tips

         

Whilst you are at University, you will need to learn how to budget to ensure that you have enough income to cover all your outgoings including Rent, Food, Bills, Travel etc..

This page will give you advice on:

  • How to earn extra money before and during University
  • Ways to boost your income
  • How to save money on food, study costs, travel, healthcare etc..
  • How to plan your budget
  • Money saving tips 
  • Things to avoid 

 


Before University


  • Save as much money as you can before starting University, for example by taking a summer job.

  


Working Whilst At University


 


Planning Your Budget


  • Prepare a budget sheet - see "Online Resources
  • Plan for extra expenses like birthdays and Christmas
  • List essential expenditure on a Spending Log - see "Online Resources
  • Keep track of your spending patterns, little things like coffee, newspapers, Spotify and so on can soon add up.
  • Always make sure you have set aside enough money for essential food, rent and fuel bills.
  • Pay cash - If you don’t take your bank card you will not be tempted to over-spend
  • Don’t buy anything you can’t afford! If you really need it save up!
  • Put some money aside for your private rent deposit in year 2 and 3. 
  • Start saving early for Christmas (limit your spending at Christmas, so you don't start the New Year in debt). 

 


Boost Your Income


  • If you are a home owner or you rent and have the permission of your landlord, you may want to consider increasing your income by renting out a room in your home tax free. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/the-rent-a-room-scheme
  • Sell unwanted clothes through local agencies (such as Exchange & Smart, and Niche, in Worcester) 
  • Sell unwanted items on eBay / Facebook / Gumtree 

 


Student NUS Card


  • NUS Extra student cards costs £12 a year and enable you to receive at least 10% discount in a significant number of shops (e.g. Co-op, Superdrug, Amazon and many clothes and music stores) and businesses.  Apply for your card online at www.nus.org.uk or you can get it at the Worcester Students' Union Welcome Desk where they will print one for you on the spot, so you can enjoy getting high street discounts immediately! 

 


Study Costs


  • Don’t buy all the books on your reading list straight away - ask your tutor which are the most important ones. Some can be bought second hand from second year students, or on eBay or Amazon. 
  • Avoid library fines. Charges for overdue books are 15p a day and are £3 a day for those on short loan and for media equipment (if you do incur a fine, then they can be paid online through the student portal UPrint or at firstpoint). If you do get into difficulties with fines, speak to a member of the library staff as soon as you can. 

 


Food, Drink and Household Products


  • Avoid expensive branded products - try the supermarket own brands.
  • Try to avoid doing your grocery shopping in independent corner shops, which tend to be more expensive than supermarket chains.
  • Check the reduced section in shops.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables from a greengrocer or market.
  • Avoid impulse buying and don’t shop when you’re hungry.
  • Try to avoid buying take-away food which is a lot more expensive than cooking your own or buying a pre-cooked meal from a supermarket. For example, a take-away pizza can cost between £6 and £13 but one from a supermarket costs £2 to £3.
  • Making your own sandwiches can cost less than 50p a day but ready-made ones cost between £2 and £4.
  • You can save 10% off food and drinks in the University’s dining hall and coffee shops if you pay with your student card. 
  • Use loyalty cards offered by supermarkets for money-back schemes. 

 


Household Bills


  • Read the small print in mobile phone and internet contracts. Some can be expensive once the free offers have finished and costly to end the contract before the due date.
  • Make sure you use the most economical household fuel provider where relevant.
  • Make sure your possessions are insured either on your own or your parents’ policy. Endsleigh Insurance is recognised by the NUS.
  • Don't Ignore Debts - if you are experiencing problems paying a bill, don’t ignore it; get in touch with the creditor. You may be able to negotiate smaller payments. Explain that you are a student and tell them when you hope to start full-time work. 

 


Travel


  • Save money by walking, cycling or catching a bus (but with a group if late at night).
  • Join the University’s Cycle Loan Scheme for as little as £20 an academic year.
  • Use the Campus Bike Shop - The bike shop is open near Woodbury building (St Johns campus) from 12.00 and 2.00 every Wednesday during term time. The shop sells recycled and new bikes and accessories. They also service and repair any bike.
  • Use student rail cards (also available to over 25s if they are in full-time education). Student Rail cards cost £30 a year or £70 for three years and can save you up to a third of rail travel costs. Disabled persons’ railcards entitle you to a third off most rail fares across Britain for you and a companion and currently cost £20 a year or £54 for three years. You can collect an application form from your nearest station, the Students’ Union, firstpoint, or phone 0345 300 0250. Or you can apply online - click on links to left of this page.
  • Bus Travel - local First buses drop off outside the University and also pick up in the St John’s Campus and offer cheaper rates for students. For further information visit: www.firstgroup.com/students or telephone 0345 602 0121. Disabled people fulfilling the relevant criteria are entitled to free bus passes for bus travel in the city of Worcester. For eligibility details phone the city council on 01905 722233 or visit www.worcester.gov.uk

 


Help With Healthcare Costs


  • Apply for help with healthcare costs like prescriptions by completing a form HC1 available from the Students’ Union or Firstpoint in the Peirson Building. If you are living away from home, parental income isn't taken into account.  See Healthcare Costs page for more details. 

 


Computers And Software


  • Free software: Office 365 is available to current students through the student portal. This allows access to online storage (One Drive) and Microsoft office online applications. Current students also have the option to download Microsoft office onto their Windows or Apple computer. 

 


Art & Design Materials


  • Art & Design students can save money on materials by visiting the Worcestershire Resource Exchange.  See www.wre.uk.com for details. 

 


Free...


  • Firstpoint in the Peirson Building allows free phone calls (with permission) to Student Finance England and NHS Grants.
  • Get household and other goods for free by enrolling with your local Freecycle scheme, for more information visit www.freecycle.org

   

Don’t expect to be able to afford as many luxuries as you did before you became a student e.g. Sky TV, foreign holidays, gym membership etc

 

       


Things to Avoid


  • Avoid using cash-point machines that charge for use.
  • Don't use credit cards and store cards – interest soon adds up and can be very expensive and unmanageable on a student income.
  • Avoid online gambling sites - small bets soon add up.              
  • Don't use expensive debt management services.  There are several companies who offer FREE advice and support (however watch out for the companies who offer free advice, but charge you high fees for setting up and administering your debt management plan).  If you need help, the Worcester Citizens’ Advice Bureau has a free specialist debt service, tel: 03444 111 303 or visit www.cabwhabac.org.uk  Other recommended companies include Stepchange and National Debtline.
  • Don't use PayDay loans because of the notoriously high rates of interest charged - average 2615% APR (based on average fee of £29 per £100 borrowed).
  • Don't use Independent Finance Companies. Students should be particularly aware of independent finance companies or ‘loan sharks’ masquerading as official student loan providers. These companies advertise on social networking sites known to be used by students. They charge extraordinarily high rates of interest that could never realistically be repaid by anyone on a student income and should be avoided at all costs.

 

If you are having problems meeting basic expenses, contact the University's Money Advisers for advice through firstpoint.