Top budgeting tips

Five University of Leicester students offer their top tips on how to budget whilst at university.

To make things easier, we’ve asked our student for their top tips for managing your money at university.

  • Interest-free overdraft. Shop around for a student bank account which has an interest-free overdraft. But remember that the overdraft is not part of your income, it's just a safety net for any short-term cash-flow problems.
  • Separate accounts. Create two separate accounts: one for your direct debit commitments such as rent and bills; and one for day-to-day expenses. This way you can’t accidentally spend your rent money! 
  • Keep track of your finances. Divide the money in your day-to-day account by the number of weeks it has to last you. Doing this regularly will help you see if you're slipping behind (in which case, tighten your belt) or whether you're on track to make it to the end of term. If you've somehow got a little ahead - treat yourself.
  • No credit cards. Steer well clear of credit cards, including store cards. They charge high interest rates and if you fall behind with payments you will get a bad credit history which could adversely affect your financial situation in later life.
  • Part-time and summer jobs. If you can find work during the summer vacation, use the income to build up your savings. For part-time work during term, contact Unitemps.
  • Discounts. Sign up for an NUS Extra Card to get discounts at your favourite shops. Use student websites like Student Beans to find more discounts. And keep an eye for deals and special offers when you're shopping.
  • Local knowledge. Talk with other students (especially second/third years) - they will know the cheapest local places to shop. They will also know the best time of day to check for reduced items.
  • Make your own sandwiches. For the cost of one Meal Deal you can buy a loaf of bread and enough filling to last you all week!
  • Second-hand books. Getting all the books on your reading list can be expensive. Check eBay for used textbooks, but make sure they're the right edition. Check local second-hand bookshops too - many of last year's students will have got rid of their books rather than cart them home.
  • Get help. You don’t have to do it alone. Speak with Student Welfare Service. Talk to someone at the Students' Union. Check websites such as The Student Room. You're not the first student to deal with this and you won't be the last.