One of the most important things you’ll learn as a student is how to manage your money. Knowing that your finances are under control means you can relax, concentrate on your studies and fully enjoy your time here at Birmingham.
If you’re from the UK, your student loan, scholarship, part-time work or perhaps even a Chamberlain Award will support you while you’re at university. If you’re from overseas, managing your finances carefully is even more important as you’re living a long way from home. And remember, when you’re budgeting you need to take into account your tuition fees and your living costs.
Budgeting advice and financial assistance
The Funding, Graduation & Awards office can offer you financial advice and support throughout your studies, and we also offer a range of scholarships, grants and bursaries, which we would advise you to explore. If you are a UK full-time undergraduate, we also suggest you check that your parents (where applicable) are giving you the correct level of financial support (according to the Government) that they should be. You can do this using this handy calculator.
It is crucial to remember that most students receive their funding in fairly large instalments, usually at the start of every term. So once a payment has been received, it usually has to last quite a while (typically until the start of the following term) before another payment is received. This is why budgetting is so important.
Once you've established the total income that is available to you, it's time to work out how much realistically you can spend on your accommodation, going out, and life's little luxuries. It's not easy, but there are several budgetting apps that may be able to help. Here are just a small selection:
- mint - a comprehensive budget that categorises your spending showing where cutting back might be possible
- ontrees - recommended by 90% of students in a trial for NUS. It even shows you where you are overspending
- goodbudget - includes a 'share budgets' feature - very good if you're in a houseshare
- toshl - little monster characters put the fun into budgetting - also includes a currency conversion feature
- Money Lover - brilliant for those who like charts, statistics and graphs
- loot - specifically designed for students, this links to a prepaid VISA card making tracking purchases simple
Remember to include regular outgoings, bills, etc but don't forget about one-off's such as Christmas, birthdays ...... and trips to the dentist! The Which Student Guide gives a list of ten things to include. Also Brightside have produced a brilliant online student calculator which can help you establish, monitor and review your budget on an ongoing basis. And don't forget to use your NUS student card wherever possible to get student discounts and freebies.
Finally if you are still struggling you may wish to consider applying for our Student Hardship Fund or you may feel that speaking to an adviser from GuildAdvice in the Guild of Students would be useful.