Students discuss finances

Working out your budget

Working out your budget is not a one-off exercise. It is a starting point to managing your money.

It is important to work out your student budget before you start your studies to see whether you have enough money to live on. Once you arrive at UWE Bristol, you will need to update your budget with the actual amounts that you receive and spend.

A typical student budget

The budget below is based on a student renting accommodation for the ten months (40 weeks) of the academic year (eg between September and June).

To give you an idea of weekly cost in 2017/18, here is an example of a basic budget:

 Expenses Weekly  Annual (40 weeks)
Rent £140 £5,600
Living costs (food, bills) £70 £2,800
Mobile phone  £5 £200
Travel to and from UWE Bristol  £15 £600
Course costs (books etc) £12  £480
Total £242 £9,680

The above budget is the minimum you could expect to spend. How much you spend will depend to some extent on your lifestyle.

However, you could still save money by cycling or walking to UWE Bristol. You could save money on course costs by clubbing together with your mates to buy an essential text book each or using the University libraries.

Please note that the above budget does not include:

  • socialising/entertainment 
  • travelling to see your family and friends at home
  • the cost of securing your accommodation for the next academic year. Students often need to pay deposits to letting agencies in the spring/summer terms to ensure that they have somewhere to live next year.

Income

Check when you are likely to receive your funding and how long it is intended to cover. Student funding can be paid termly (eg maintenance loan) or monthly (eg NHS funding). You may receive it during the standard academic year of ten months (September to June) or over a calendar year (12 months). Other income is paid monthly (wages) or four-weekly (tax credits and child benefit). Sponsorship such as family contributions can be paid annually or irregularly.

Cash flow

Student Finance-funded students receive funding termly. As the terms are of different lengths, it is important to budget evenly over the whole academic year.

Expenditure

Check when you are expected to pay things like tuition fees or rent. Certain items, such as rent, can cover an 11-month period but be collected during the standard academic year of ten months. If you receive your funding termly, it is much better to pay your rent termly.

You may have higher programme costs within the first term.

It is important to turn termly income or annual expenditure into a monthly amount. This will allow you to check where you are financially each month and make adjustments to your budget by reducing expenditure or increasing your income if you need to.

Financial health checks

If you are an undergraduate funded by Student Finance, why not book into a financial health check with a UWE Bristol Money Advice Worker? They will check your full entitlement of funding and work with you on your budget for this year. To arrange an appointment, please contact an Information Point.

Budgeting tools

It can be very helpful to use an online budget calculator or a budget spreadsheet to save you having to make complicated calculations, and also to make sure you don't miss anything. Budgeting tools are designed to help you plan your finance ahead and make a forecast of your income and expenditure.

There are many calculators available online. We suggest you try one of the listed below: 

Money Advice and Funding Service

If you have any questions about funding related matters, please contact our Money Advice and Funds Service.

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