It is not an easy task to manage a budget for what is likely to be the first time. This book will provide you with helpful budgeting suggestions as well as an understanding of what to anticipate, allowing you to steer clear of any unpleasant surprises.

The top ten expenses at a university that should be budgeted for

Budgeting Bootcamp

Budgeting Bootcamp

Your ability to make the most of your student budget will be directly correlated to your level of preparation and awareness on the charges that you might anticipate incurring while attending university.

You are undoubtedly already aware of the substantial chunk that will be taken out of your budget by lodging; nonetheless, 44 percent of students reported that they spend more on this than they anticipated they would before they arrived to university*.

In addition, the cost of your lodging is not the only thing you need to take into consideration. The following list provides ten additional of the most significant costs associated with attending university that should be incorporated into your budget.

1. Books

Over half of students surveyed (56%) reported having made financial contributions toward the purchase of required textbooks, with an average contribution of £119.

Note that this number will change depending on the topic or class that you are currently enrolled in; for example, if you are majoring in English, you will most likely read more books than if you were majoring in computer science.

It’s possible to spend a lot of money on books, particularly more scholarly titles that aren’t carried by your neighborhood Waterstones. You might be able to find these pre-owned on the internet through retailers such as Amazon, for example.

You can put off purchasing the majority of the books required for your class until your student loan funds arrive; however, there is a possibility that you will be required to read certain materials in advance in order to be prepared for the first week of classes.

Find out what kinds of reading materials are absolutely necessary to purchase and what kinds of reading materials you may obtain online or borrow from the library.

2. A portable computer and a printer

To finish your assignments and print them off, you will surely need a laptop that is in working order, and you may even require a printer to do so. Doing so will save you the trouble of scouring all around campus for a printer on the morning of a deadline.

The majority of educational institutions do, in fact, have computer labs and libraries; but, making reservations for these facilities can be a hassle and is just cumbersome.

If your present laptop has seen better days, you might want to think about purchasing a new one rather than risking having something go wrong right before an important deadline.

Because the average lifespan of a good laptop is about three years, purchasing one now should be plenty to see you through the entirety of your undergraduate education.

Students told us that they spent an average of £484 on a computer for their class, in addition to an average of £97 on specialized software, programmes, and applications.

When it comes to printing, it may be more cost-effective to have your own (and share the cost of ink with housemates) rather than rely on the facilities provided by the university (especially if you need to turn something in at the very last minute).

3. Transport

Regardless of whether you take a bus to class or drive back home for the holidays, you will need to take into account the expenditures associated with travel.

To be of assistance, there are student travel cards available, which can assist you in lowering the costs associated with moving around:

16-25 If you plan to take the train to visit family during the holidays or on the weekends, investing in a Railcard, which only costs £30 per year, will save you money on the cost of your train tickets.
18+ Pay an administration fee of 25 pounds to get a discount of 30 percent on adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets in London using a Student Oyster Photocard. To be eligible to apply, you are required to have a term-time address in the city of London.
The National Express Young Persons Coach card costs approximately £15 and provides a discount of approximately one third on coach fares.

Plan ahead and try to book your tickets in advance if you can, as the cost of buying them on the day of the event is almost usually higher.

Although there are some students who drive their own vehicles to college, the costs of fuel, insurance, and parking may add up quickly. You can reduce your overall insurance premium by paying for the entire year’s coverage in one lump sum if you have the financial means to do so. You can also consider looking into short-term car insurance for students if you want to use your parents’ vehicle for brief periods of time, such as while you are back at home for the holidays.

4. Food

It is a fallacy that students subsist solely on baked beans; it is entirely possible to maintain a normal and healthy diet regardless of the size of one’s financial means.

To get you started, here are some guidelines to consider:

Creating a shopping list and sticking to it will help you avoid making rash purchases while grocery shopping.
Cook in quantity and freeze. This way, nothing will be thrown away, it will end up being a lot less expensive, and you will always have a backup plan for when the cabinets are empty.
You may save money on meals on the road by making your own packed lunches.

5. Entertainment

The cost of socialising may quickly add up, whether it be for activities such as freshmen week, club subscriptions, student parties, gigs, fancy dress, sports, or even just a quick coffee (and a slice of cake) with friends.

Set aside a particular amount of money specifically for your pleasure, and do all in your can not to go over that amount.

Consider having movie nights at home with your roommates, going to free events hosted by your union, or taking advantage of bargains that provide two tickets for the price of one.

Make the most of all the student nights and promotions that are now available.

Websites that cater specifically to students, such as Student Beans and Unidays, provide a variety of deals, including cheap days and nights out. This may include excursions to the theatre or tickets to amusement parks.

6. Utilities

Utilities like gas, electricity, and water are typically incorporated into the cost of your rent in on-campus housing such as halls of residence; however, this could not be the case if you decide to move into private housing instead of on-campus accommodation.

You will need to set aside a certain amount of money every month in addition to the rent that you pay in order to pay for your utility bills. Managing the money that enters and leaves your account is made easier when you establish predetermined payment schedules.

Check to see if switching to a different energy provider or tariff could help you save money. Online discounts are typically some of the most affordable, and if you pay using direct debit, you can frequently receive an additional discount.

7. Internet

This is yet another expense that, if you live in a hall of residence, will typically be taken care of for you, but if you live in private housing, you will need to budget for it (though some landlords may throw this in with the rent).

Don’t forget that there are typically a few more charges involved in addition to the price that is stated for broadband. For example, there is a cost associated with installing a phone line as well as a monthly line rental fee.

Do some price comparison shopping online to be sure you’re getting a decent bargain on your package.

8. Insurance

You could be astonished to learn how much your possessions are actually worth if you add up the prices of everything you own, such as your laptop, smartphone, TV, clothes, and other items required for specialised classes. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you purchase insurance to cover these costs.

If you are a student living in university housing, such as a dorm or apartment, you should be entitled to basic student room insurance that will cover your belongings from being stolen, damaged, or destroyed in the event of a fire or flood. Check with the owner or manager of the property to see the extent of the contents insurance coverage that is incorporated into your monthly rent payment.
If you are moving into a privately owned shared house or apartment, you are likely going to require something that is more complete. Packages of student contents insurance start at approximately £10 per month in cost.

9. Toiletries

It’s possible that you won’t fully appreciate how pricey everyday items like toothpaste, shampoo, and shower gel are until you enrol in college (especially the nicer stuff).

Take advantage of deals and brands that are good for your money.

10. Items of attire

It is tempting to run straight to the stores as soon as you obtain your loan, but you will regret it if you blow through your clothing budget in the first week.

The best thing for you to do is to only pack what you will require for that term. This will prevent you from having to waste money on things that aren’t necessary (eg on a suit for an interview, new boots or a raincoat if the weather turns suddenly).

Always check online as well as in stores for any possible student discounts.

And if there is something in your closet that you know you won’t use again, consider selling it on eBay or one of the many other websites that are dedicated to secondhand items.

“Hidden” or unanticipated charges and fees

The following are some one-time or last-minute charges that many students fail to account for in their budgets.

Moving van and supplies

The cost of renting a moving vehicle can be high, and the cost of moving supplies like boxes and bubble wrap can quickly add up. The price that you are quoted will change depending on how much you are transporting, how long you will need the van for, and the distance that you will be travelling.

It is important to determine as early as possible whether or not you will be able to transport all of your belongings in the vehicle that you or your parents own.

If you find that you do need to rent a van, you should try to make your reservation as far in advance as you can.

Verify that your parents will be able to accompany you on the move to your new university. In that case, you should consider asking your friends or siblings for assistance instead.

Extra furnishings and utensils

When picking out a place to stay, make sure you give careful consideration to the amenities and accoutrements that will be supplied. In this manner, you will be able to take your time when browsing for the best deals, and you will even be able to pick these up while they are on sale.

When you have a lengthy list of things to obtain and little time to accomplish it in, buying these the week before you go to university is likely to result in you spending a lot more money than you would have otherwise.

While we will equip you with things like microwaves and tea kettles, you will be responsible for bringing your own utensils and dishes. Is there anything that your elder siblings left behind that you could take while they were away at college?

The Week of the Newcomers

During the first week of school, you will get the funds for your student loan at some point. You are going to need some additional cash until then so that you may participate in all of the activities that will be taking place during this first week. This will include purchasing tickets to events as well as the typical charges such as beverages and cabs.

When you could be having fun instead of sitting at a bank trying to set up an overdraft, you don’t want to waste your time there.

Put some additional money away in a separate account for the first week, until things have settled down (and know where the cheaper alternatives are).

Surprise costs

Establish a safety net to cover any unforeseen expenses that may arise during the course of the year, such as unplanned visits to family or the cost of repairing a shattered phone screen.

The same is true for any one-time costs, such as a deposit for a student residence hall or membership fees for various clubs and organisations.

Costs that are subject-specific

The students shared with us the various pieces of gear, articles of clothing, and other miscellaneous items that they were required to purchase over the term for their class.

It is not necessary for you to be concerned about them for your particular class, nor will you necessarily require these at the beginning of the semester; however, it is beneficial for you to be aware of what might occur.

The following are examples of pieces of equipment that students might pay for:

Tupperware (to hold insects for taking photos)
Surgical instruments for midwives
Equipment for dissection
Camera and camera accessories (tripod, SD cards, spare lenses)
It’s also possible that, depending on what you’re looking into, you’ll need to invest in some specialised clothing.
Students might need to set aside money for the following types of clothing:
Lab coats/goggles
The attire worn by nurses
Costumes for stage productions
Dressing impeccably (for work placements)
Pants that are waterproof
Remember to bring these additional items, as well as your graduation robe and cap at the very end.
Graduation robe or garb
A subscription to the journal
Membership in a professional organisation
Educational outings
Participation in musical performances by music students
Disclosure and barring service check, sometimes known as a check of one’s criminal record

Ask about these things during an open day, especially whether or if there is more funding that could go toward paying for these things.

How to account for them in the budget

You’ve compiled a lengthy list of costs that you’ll be responsible for while attending college; how will you pay for everything?

Check to see what kind of student aid you are eligible for; you should receive some type of maintenance support, and the amount you receive will depend on the income in your home. Even while it may not be very much, it’s a beginning. See our comprehensive guide for more information on tuition and other student costs.
Do some research into the additional funding that is available; there are a variety of reasons (and not only for A students!) that bursaries and scholarships are given out. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you might be able to have some or all of your tuition fees covered, in addition to receiving additional funding to use toward your living expenses. But before you do that, you need to perform some research.
You should look into opening a student bank account that suits your needs, specifically one that offers the maximum possible interest-free overdraft. If you are in need of some additional income until you receive your next student loan payment or money from a part-time job, this can serve as a useful buffer for you. Many financial institutions provide students with a variety of benefits, some of which might help them save money, such as travelcards and discounts on various forms of entertainment.
You might be better off financially in the long term if you put off enrolling in college or defer your enrollment for a year, find a job in the meanwhile, and put the money you save toward your education. Although it may seem pointless to stay at home while all of your friends leave for college, doing so might relieve a significant amount of the financial stress you will experience once you begin your studies. In addition, during that period, you can build up your experience and talents, go on an adventure, or even study abroad before committing to three years of schooling.