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How to budget

A calculator next to a piece of blank paper and a pen on a white tabletop with a cactus in a pot to the top right.

Budgeting means tracking your income and expenses to create a plan for how you will spend your money. It can help you save money, pay off debt, and reach any financial goals you might want to save for, like a holiday or a laptop.

Here some steps to help you learn how to budget:

  • Track your spending. The first step to budgeting is to track your spending for a month or two. This will give you a good idea of where your money is going. There are a number of different ways to track your spending, such as using a budgeting app, a spreadsheet, or simply keeping a written record of your purchases.
  • Set your budget. Once you know where your money is going, you can start to set your budget. Your budget should include all of your income and expenses, including rent, food, transportation, entertainment, and savings.
  • Stick to your budget. The hardest part of budgeting is sticking to it. But it's important to remember that budgeting is a process, and it takes time to get used to it. If you find yourself going over your budget, don't give up. Just adjust your budget as needed and keep trying.
  • Review your budget regularly. It's important to review your budget regularly to make sure it's still working for you. Your income and expenses may change over time, so it's important to make sure your budget reflects these changes.

Budgeting can be a challenge as it requires real discipline to stick to, but people like's Martin Lewis say that it's a vital skill to have when your money is limited. By following these steps, you can create a budget that works for you and help you reach your financial goals.

Here are some budgeting tips for you to think about:

  • Be realistic about your income and expenses. Don't try to budget for more than you can afford.
  • Be flexible. Things will come up that will make it difficult to stick to your budget. Be prepared to adjust your budget as needed.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are a number of resources available to help you budget, such as budgeting apps, websites, and financial advisors.

Budgeting can be a great way to take control of your finances and reach your financial goals. By following these tips, hopefully you can create a budget that works for you.

A few other things to consider:

  • Look at setting up a student bank account. They're usually much the same as regular bank accounts, but typically with freebies and an interest-free overdraft.
  • Look out for flexible and part-time jobs at the University. You could become a Student Ambassador, Welcome Team Ambassador, work in the Sport Centre, or a range of other roles.
  • Get a NUS card and always ask if the retailer does student discount – you will save loads! Keep a look out for other student-discount cards and websites.
  • Don’t overpay tax. Anyone who earns less than £12,570 a year shouldn’t pay any income tax so make sure you’re paying the right amount and if not, claim a tax refund online.

You can find a range of advice on student finances on the student section of the Moneysavingexpert website.

Remember, if you're struggling financially, our Student Support team are here to help.