Top Tips on Managing Your Money During Your Studies

Being a student is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be difficult financially as you live independently for the first time. Learning how to manage your schoolwork and your finances can be challenging, so King’s College London has create tips to help you during this time:

1. Make a budget & stick to it

Budgeting is not always fun, and it can be challenge, but thinking ahead and planning for your finances will help you not only get through, but also enjoy your time in university, as well as it being a good habit to have for the future.

Step one: Create a budget

Creating a budget will allow you to easily track your outgoings, help you to allocate funds to cover your essentials, and allow you to plan ahead. Make use of savvy student budget calculators to help you get started.

Step two: Work out what's coming in

This is the part where you’ll look at your monthly income. This can be any money you have coming into your bank account. Do you have a job? Do you parents send you money each month? Do you have scholarships? This all counts as money coming in!

You can also think about how you can increase your income. Do you plan on getting a part-time job while you study? Check out I want to get a job while studying. Have you claimed all the funding available? Check out What loans, grants, or scholarships can I get from King’s?

Step three: Work out what's going out

Now you’ll put in your monthly expenditure. You’ll need to think about this in stages:

  • Present: List your survival costs — the things you must pay: rent, household bills, utilities, food etc. With the remainder, consider what you want but do not need.
  • Past: Do you have any priority debts to pay?
  • Future: Plan for emergency or short-term costs (e.g. birthdays, holidays). Think about avoiding unnecessary credit whilst studying, so long-term expenses such as a car or a house become possible sooner.

Step four: Review & repeat every month

There you go! It might seem a little tedious at first, but once you get into the habit of it, you will have one less thing to worry about, and developed great money management skills in the process.

2. Use online banking

Using online banking can help you keep track of your spending. A top tip would be to make sure to check in on your account every few days, because sometimes card transactions can take a few days to show up in your record.

3. Plan your food shop & cook in bulk

Planning your meals for the week ahead and sticking to a shopping list when doing your weekly shop, will help you to only buy the things you need. Don’t underestimate the power of a grocery list to deter you from those unwanted snacks; it can be tempting to grab a quick snack on your way back home every day — but those pennies add up!

  • Stock up on staples like pasta, canned vegetables and soups, as they have a longer shelf life.
  • If you’ve got extra space in your freezer, try and cook in bulk and freeze leftovers whenever possible. Don’t forget to read any packaging to check if your food is suitable for freezing.
  • Take a look at some student-friendly recipes for some inspiration!
  • For lots of handy tips and a guide to where to shop, read our top tips on shopping as a student

4. Consider sharing costs

It’s not for everyone — but why not try sharing the cooking responsibilities amongst your roommates? That way you can save money, get less tired of cooking, and learn to cook new dishes!

You might also want to think about a communal money “pot” that everyone contributes to, for household items such as toilet roll, cleaning supplies, even some shared foods. This can help you save costs. However, be careful to plan this money carefully with your roommates, so everyone is clear on what the money will be spent on and shared responsibilities.

5. Take note of the small things

Consider your spending; do you really need that £3 latte every morning? Could you afford to get up a little earlier so you can walk instead of spending £1.50 for the bus every morning?

The small things add up; adding up a regular coffee, if we do the math is £3 x 365 = £1095; you will be spending £1095 on just coffee a year!

Cheaper alternative: You could bring your own homemade coffee in a tumbler every day and save up to go on a holiday instead.

6. Ask for help if you’re struggling

If you are starting to feel like your finances are spiralling out of control, it is never too early to ask for help. It can be really scary and difficult to admit that you need help but the earlier really is the better.

If you are experiencing money difficulties, if you're not sure what guidance or which support options most apply to you, please get in touch with our student-specialist advisors who can provide you with free and confidential advice.

For more information on how Advice Services can support you, take a look at our article what student support services are available?

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