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Student Money Guide And Online Budget Calculator

This section of our website is here to provide help and advice for students in full time education and this is where you can download our free and comprehensive guide to managing your money and dealing with debt problems when you are at university.

The main things you can do here are download the Student Finance And Debt Guide or get a better understanding of your financial situation by using the online Student Budget Calculator below.

The Student Finance And Debt Guide is in pdf format so you will need Adobe Reader to open it. If you do not have Reader you can download it free of charge here. The Guide covers bank accounts, money management, how student loans work, money saving ideas, income generation and dealing with debt. It also has a list of other useful contacts.

The Importance Of Creating A Budget

For most students, being at university will be the first time they have lived away from home and had to take responsibility for managing their finances. This can be a daunting prospect, and many people find it difficult to keep track of all the different things they need to spend money on. It is important to understand how much you are spending and whether that is within what you can afford or not. Once you have a handle on where your money is going, you will be able to tell whether you are spending more than you are getting in income. Understanding how much you spend and on what, allows you to identify what action you can take to get your spending back inline with your income.

This process is called budgeting and preparing a budget has to be the first step you take if you want to understand your finances and actually take control over your situation. It is actually a pretty straightforward and logical process which you can do quite easily by filling in a budget worksheet. This breaks down all your income and expenditure and shows you clearly whether you are living within your means, and if not, where you ought to take action to help the situation. You can use the online Budget Calculator further down this page to help you understand your current financial situation.

The key to managing your finances as a student is to understand that your income is fixed, so you have to tailor your expenditure to fit that. You are unlikely to know where to start in terms of what needs to be done, unless you have created a budget first. This is an excellent skill to have and can make a huge difference to your finances if you act on what you find. Whether you are just starting out and want to ensure you control your finances, or you are already getting into debt and need help to get back in line, preparing a budget is the best starting point.

Creating Your Student Budget

I have provided an online form below which will help you to understand exactly where you are now financially, then allow you to plan for any changes you need to make in what you spend. If you prefer to download an Excel spreadsheet version of the budget form, you can do so here.

How To Use The Budget Calculator

Please work through the form starting at the top and filling in all the fields that are relevant to you. As you complete the form the fields underneath where it says 'Here Is Your Budget' will automatically calculate figures that will tell you what you need to know.

If you work through the sheet putting figures in based on your current income and spending, the bottom lines will show you the totals and whether you are spending more or less than you have coming in. If you see that your outgoings are more than your income, you can then use the form to adjust the figures you have put in, based on cutting your spending or increasing your income. You do this until you have a balanced budget, where your expenses are the same or less than your income. You can then print this off and use it as the monthly budget you have to stick to in future.

The form assumes you will enter all your figures on a monthly basis, but you could just as easily do it based on weekly figures if you prefer. It makes no difference, provided you are consistent. Just make sure that ALL figures are EITHER weekly or monthly. If you do a combination of both your budget will be wrong. If you have annual figures for anything, just divide by twelve to get a monthly amount. If you have weekly amounts, multiply by four to make it monthly.

Take some time to make the figures you enter as accurate and realistic as possible. You may need to do some research on how much you have spent in the past, check your old bills, etc. If you have just moved to university you may find it tricky to estimate what you will spend on each of the different expenses you have. The NUS have information that provides useful advice on things such as what a typical student is likely to spend on various different things.

Please See Additional Notes Below The Form To Help You Complete It

Student Budget Calculator




Your Accommodation:








Other Expenses:


Debt And Credit:


Entertainment and Leisure:




Other Expenses:




Help With Completing The Form

This ought to be fairly straightforward. You will need to work out how much your loan comes to per month. Make sure you do not include any loan you get for tuition fees, as this goes straight to the university.

If you have a part time job and your hours vary, look at what you earned over a period of at least three months and work out the average for a month.

Most people will be renting from a private landlord or in halls of residence, but some may have a mortgage. Remember to factor in any deposit you have paid to a landlord against damages, as there is no guarantee you will get this back. Add it onto the total rent you are paying so that the monthly amount you enter includes a portion of this too.

In general you just need to be as honest with yourself as possible about what you spend. It can be useful to go back over a period of a few months and look at what you actually did spend, as this can be quite surprising when you add it up.

There will be some sections that hopefully are not applicable to you, so just leave them blank, but we have tried to cover most eventualities and situations. For example the majority of students will not have cars or baby care costs, but some do.

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