Managing Your Budget
Living by yourself for the first time will often be the first time that young adults are responsible for managing their own budget. Regardless if you gain money from employment, a scholarship, loan or your family it is crucial to not overspend. There are lots of simple ways to make sure you don’t blow your bank balance.
First of all, it may be a condition of your visa that you cannot work, or cannot work more than a certain number of hours in the UK. This limits how much money you can earn getting a proper part time job. This does mean that some turn to tutoring or other cash-in-hand jobs, but this is also technically not strictly allowed! Make sure you investigate your earning options, and adhere to your visa conditions. This has to be factored in to any budget.
The UK government has established an organisation, Money Advice Service, to help residents manage their finances. On their website you will find information about budgeting, managing debt and a basic savings calculator. Complement this with Student Calculator, which will give you an idea of how to write out your own budget and an indicative idea of UK costs for each item.
Students, both local and international, are always on the lookout for money saving advice. Your student union is a fantastic resource for many situations, and will have information on their discount deals with local organisations. Additionally, the National Union of Students (NUS) arranges discounts nationwide, sign up for a NUS Extra card on their website to access them. Student Beans provide a free digital student card, as well as a mobile app, that gives you access to over 10,000 student specific discounts. UNiDAYS is also excellent, providing new discounts for a variety of stores (both physical and online) all year round. Take advantage of the huge number of loyalty schemes out there – there’s one for almost every store in the UK.
Take advantage of all transport discounts. The 16-25 Railcard is particularly useful if you intend to do any train travel in the UK – and it’s definitely an affordable way to explore, once you sign up for the card! This can also be linked to your Oyster card if you live in London, for general transport discounts.
If you manage your finances on your phone, this article from the Telegraph has a variety of great suggestions of apps that can help you manage your money. Take advantage of budgeting on the go by downloading one!
There are lots of great ideas out there for students looking to spend thoughtfully and manage their own budget successfully.