While you might not be able to live like a millionaire playboy during your time at university in Medway (barring a Lottery win), it’s possible to live within your means with a little careful planning. In this guide, we go through all the expenses you’ll face, as well as what money you’ll have coming in. On top of that, we’ve got tips to help you make your cash go further.

What do you have to pay for?

Typically, you’ll end up facing the following expenses whilst away at university:

  • Rent for your student accommodation, plus a deposit and fees
  • Stationery and extra printing credits
  • NUS membership, although this is optional but think of all the money you’d save
  • Textbooks and other learning aids
  • Food, drink, toiletries and all the other staples requirements 
  • Tuition fees, although that cost is covered by your student finance

Tuition fees, rent and food shopping are without a doubt the three biggest expenses students will come across in their uni life. Whether you cover the cost through the use of student finance alone, by adding extra income through a part-time job or the generosity of the bank of mum and dad you’ll need at least enough to meet the costs of your accommodation, education and food. 

The cost for some of the other expenses the average student is likely to face will ultimately vary from month to month. This is where being a student really comes in handy with the benefits of student discounts for most things. If you need to get around North Kent by bus you can get an annual bus pass for the fraction of the original price. For £140, you get unlimited bus travel throughout West Kent for a year (September to August). For train journeys on you can get the 16-25 Railcard, which gives you a third off the price of train tickets nationwide.

Top Tips for budgeting during your time at Uni

This is often the most difficult bit to get right money-wise is budgeting. However, with a pen, paper and calculator or, better still, a blank spreadsheet to work with, you can make this mundane task a little less of a pain. To budget effectively, here are the basics:

  • Add up how much money you expect to have in your account - Your student finance is usually given term by term so find out how much you’ll get, plus any salary you might recieve from working part-time and of course money from your parents.
  • Once you’ve worked that out, divide that estimated amount by four to have an estimate for each month of the term (for example: September - December).
  • From the monthly total, subtract what you expect to spend on rent, food, clothes, toiletries, nights out, transport and anything else you can anticipate.

When budgeting, it’s well worth setting a limit on the amount you spend on a weekly shop. It’s worth buying staples like pasta, rice, beans, cereal and tinned tomatoes in bulk if you can. A useful way of cutting down on food costs is to invest in appliances such as slow cookers. With a slow cooker, you’re able to make quite a few different meals and get a lot of leftovers out of it!

In Case of Emergency

In case of an emergency or for something like a night out, it’s worth setting aside any loose change. Get a large jar and use it to store all your 1p, 2p and 5p coins and, once you get to say £5 or £10 worth of coinage, take it to the bank and put it in your account. Doing this throughout term-time will help to keep overdrafts at bay.

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