Making ends meet
Ways to cope if your budget is not working
If you have created your student budget, you may find a gap between your income and your expenditure. In order to make ends meet, you will need to think about how you can bridge the student budget gap. Solutions could include increasing your part-time work, reducing ‘luxury’ expenditure or increasing your student overdraft.
Financial problems have a habit of getting worse unless they are tackled quickly. If you find that your budget plan is not realistic, you will need to take steps to minimise your expenditure and maximise your income.
You may need to consider cutting optional payments such as clothes, TV rental or mobile phone bills. This may be the time to cut spending on entertainment or alcohol. For example, smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs approximately £2,000 a year. Try the Money Saving Expert demotivator to see where you can reduce your outgoings.
Even if you have a sensible budget, it is easy to spend more than you intend. Try keeping a detailed and accurate list of everything that you spend for a period of at least two weeks. Then compare this to your budget. Doing this exercise may be all it takes to see where the problem lies.
Want to reduce your weekly food bill?
By planning meals, shopping around or cooking with a friend you can still eat nutritious and tasty meals on a budget. Have a look at the two budget recipe documents below for inspiration:
View more healthy recipes from UWE Bristol.
For further recipe ideas and tips take a look at the websites below:
- Love Food Hate Waste
- BBC Good Food
- Cooking on a bootstrap
- Money Saving Expert – shopping
- Cooking on a budget – studentcooking.tv
You need to make sure you are receiving all the funding available to you. If you are not already doing part-time work, one option may be to do so. It is vital not to do so much paid work that your academic work suffers, but one or two evenings or a Saturday may not be too much of a strain in the first year or two of your studies. You only need to earn £30 a week in term time to raise £1,000, which may be enough to sort out your difficulties.
It is sometimes the case that you are facing hardship because of unusual or unforeseen circumstances such as losing a job, having to move suddenly or being burgled. You may also have exceptionally high accommodation or travel costs beyond your control. If you are in a situation like this you may be eligible for help from UWE Bristol.
Finally, if you feel that your financial situation is beyond the above adjustments, check out dealing with debt.
There are some great free resources available online to boost your knowledge about managing money. Future Learn offers a range of online courses from universities and specialist organisations.
- Finance Fundamentals: Financial Planning and Budgeting
- Finance Fundamentals: Investment Theory and Practice
Money Advice and Funding Service
If you have any questions about funding related matters, please contact our Money Advice and Funds Service.