Five things that can threaten your careful student budgeting

One of the most exciting parts of being a student, aside from Freshers’ Week of course, is when the student loan comes through. It can be hard for someone who’s never lived away from home to figure out how to balance their loan alongside their outgoings, but some of our tips might be able to help you.

Even the most savvy of budgeters can get caught out sometimes though – here are a few things that you should always be wary of so that you’ll successfully make it to the next instalment of your student loan:

1. Unexpected bills

Even with careful planning, sometimes an unexpected bill will land on your doorstep or you’ll realise as you check your online banking one month that the direct debit you thought you’d cancelled to Netflix went through anyway or your calls back home took you over your plan on your phone bill. Avoid this by keeping careful track of what outgoings you have and keeping a close eye on your online banking. It always helps to have a buffer of a small amount of money in your account too in case of this.

2. Shop sales

Despite our attempts to be frugal with shopping and always stick to the offers in the shops, it’s the sales that can sometimes catch us out. You might think you’re saving money by shopping regularly in the sales, but ask yourself whether you really need what you’re buying as you’ll find that the vast majority of the time, you don’t. It’s when these small unnecessary purchases begin to add up that you realise just how much you’ve spent.

3. Theft

Theft of your property is something that you don’t want to even think about, but it’s a risk that is higher for university students who might have their guard lowered. We’ve all known someone have their phone or wallet stolen on a night out and had to replace it, and, according to a survey by Data Label, it can even happen in your own accommodation. It might be as small as having food stolen from the fridge (as 28% of people have experienced) which threatens your weekly food budget as it is, or it might be something bigger and more expensive to replace. Make sure you keep an eye on your property and that you trust whoever you’re living with.

4. Damage

Marks on the wall, fixtures and fittings broken, kitchen left neglected – these are all things that student rental properties suffer every year. But don’t forget who’s going to be paying for it at the other end: you. Try to keep your property in the best possible state you can so the bill at the end of the year, or even part way through if it’s something urgent, won’t shock you.

5. Freshers’ Week & Alcohol

We all know that our judgement becomes slightly impaired when we’ve had too much to drink, and ordering that extra round of shots or that expensive bottle of champagne might seem like a good idea at the time to just stick on the card, but you’re going to be paying for it later! Freshers’ Week is notorious for being an expensive time because of this – students are splashing the cash every night to make sure they have fun, but half of students apparently run out of money before their next loan because they haven’t anticipated in the earlier part of the term how much they’ll need to last on.
If this sounds like you, try budgeting a set amount for your night out – withdraw that much in cash and leave the cards at home.

Photograph by FirmBee

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