For a lot of students, the thought of budgeting and managing financially themselves at university is a daunting concept, but it really doesn’t need to be.

Before starting at university, filling out the student finance online forms should be a priority on your to-do list, to apply for both your tuition fees loan (paid straight to your university) and your maintenance loan (paid to you, but a large proportion of this should be to go towards your accommodation). Once you’ve applied for student finance, the uni you are going to should be able to access this information, regarding bursaries.

I personally am in receipt of the Bath Bursary, which is currently a non-repayable bursary of £3000 a year, per year of study at the University, given to all students who meet the criteria (household income less than £25,000 a year, and also must meet one of the other eligibility criteria, which can be found on this web page).This consists of 3 payments of £1000 spaced throughout the year, with the option of an early £500 in September, to help buy a laptop/necessities for starting uni. Receiving this money means I haven't had to worry about the financial side of moving to uni, and haven't had to go into my overdraft or spend my savings.

Plastic male figure reading a large book at on top of a plie of one punds coins
Photo by Mathieu Stern, unsplash.com

 

It is also great to have for your first few weeks at university in case your loan comes a few days late. From looking around universities on open days etc, I would say Bath is very generous with scholarships and bursaries, with a further 50 people getting £5000 a year through the Gold Scholarship Programme, plus a number of subject-specific/academic/sporting scholarships, so it is definitely worth looking into, and if you are eligible, don't hesitate to apply, as the extra money will definitely come in handy. Here is a link to see if you are eligible for any of these.

Budgeting and keeping track of your money is also key to financial security and can eliminate a lot of unnecessary spending and unneeded stress. Good ways to budget are through an excel spreadsheet or by using one of the many free online tools, to help see how much money is coming in, and where you are spending most money (accommodation, food, travel, books, sports, and social activities, as well as outgoing payments, such as a phone bill and Netflix subscription).

As well as budgeting sensibly, I’m making the most of student deals whilst I’m at university- whether it’s a discount code through Unidays or StudentBeans, or money off for showing your student card - little savings now and then do add up and make a big difference overall. As well as budgeting and keeping track on your maintenance loan, which is paid in 3 instalments throughout the year, it is a good idea to have a separate savings account, with some money set aside in case of emergency (or in case your accommodation payment is taken out a few days before the student loan payment arrives, which happened during first semester this year). This could be money you’ve saved up through the years, or possibly a summer job before arriving at uni, which is always a good plan.

Image of a purple and white £20 bank note

During your time at university, there is also the opportunity to get a job alongside your studies- for example, as a Student Life Ambassador, like me, or through working at Fresh, the on-campus supermarket, or a job completely separate to the university. Having said that, your studies are important and should be prioritised, and so only get a job if you can fit this in around your studies, but this is easily possible with good time management skills.

One final thing, is that Bath have exceptional Student Services with a Student Money Advice team, dedicated to providing money support, available to all students, as well as providing the Hardship Funds, for those struggling, as a safety net in hard times, so don't let financial worries put you off uni. The University has also produced this short video with some budgeting tips.

Posted in: Budgeting & Finance

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