This is a guest blog from Viceroy Learning, who support students to adapt to student life through budgeting techniques.
Hi, I’m Charlie and I am the Founder of Viceroy Learning. One of the things we do is talk to students in schools about how to budget for university and I’m going to share some of that advice with you here. We’re not talking about tuition fee loans because they don’t actually affect your day-to-day living costs.
Any institution, organisation, website or book that is targeted at helping students is likely to recommend that you “make a budget so you can keep track of spending” or offer you “17 ways to make your money go further at university” which is likely to include some reference to bulk cooking, freezer bags and days on end of chomping chilli.
The thing that all these resources, it seems to me, lack is any actual data to put in that budget. Without knowing how much anything at university actually costs, how are you expected to build a budget that is of any value whatsoever? That’s where we come in. We’ve been researching, surveying students and working with industry experts to produce a set of worthwhile data on how much life at university actually costs. Unless you’ve got a really enthusiastic older sibling, how else are you going to find this information?
So, if I’m giving you the inputs you need, you can actually build a budget for university. I recommend a method like this:
1 List all of your sources of money (income/savings) and all of your foreseeable outgoings
2 Break them all down by category; Annual, Termly, Monthly, Weekly (university), and Weekly (home)
3 Then organise outgoings to groups, we suggest: food, drink and social; accomodation and travel; societies, sports and music; studies, misc and contingency
4 Work out your term dates for the year ahead to see how many university weeks you have (normally about 30)
5 Now you can start putting numbers next to each input and your budget is beginning to take shape
Start with the first (and normally brief) bit: Income/Savings. Think about what your sources of income are likely to be. We suggest:
So now you need the list of outgoings and some estimates of how much they’ll be in categories, broken down by frequency.
With all that information you can put together your budget – to help, you can download our handy Budget Sheet here and Example Inputs sheet here where you can fill in your own numbers. Try and analyse when you will have high periods of expenditure (e.g. Freshers’ Week) and work out how not to be left with a negative balance.
Ultimately a large percentage of students have to rely on the “bank of mum and dad” but being able to warn parents in advance of how much support you’ll need really helps.
Budgeting is an important part of preparing for university, I hope with the resources we have provided today you will be able to do it in a meaningful way.