Once you start full-time work or get a student loan, you will be dealing with large sums of money and it’s even more important that you budget carefully. There are a few extra things to remember:
Before you start your course, spend some time beforehand making detailed plans for your spending over the year; many colleges and universities have very helpful resources to help you budget, so check these.
- Try to take account of everything that you will need to spend money on, both in term time and during the holidays
- Try not to underestimate regular living costs
- Discuss your plans with parents/carers, and with friends or relations who have already experienced life as a student
- Work out where you might be able to save money, but be realistic.
Loans and grants
The Government’s student support package varies depending on where you come from within the United Kingdom. But remember:
- if you get either a loan or a grant for your living costs, it will normally be paid into your bank account at the start of term. You will therefore have a large amount all at once, which is expected to last for several months. You therefore need to be disciplined about budgeting.
- if you get a grant (eg because your household income is below a specified amount), you won’t have to pay it back. If you get a loan – whether for living costs or tuition – you will. But you will only have to pay the loan back once your income is over a certain amount; so you don’t need to include loan repayments in your budgeting while you’re a student.
If you’re starting full-time work, make sure you understand all the deductions that will be made from your pay (tax, national insurance, pension payments) so that you’re not budgeting for a higher regular payment than you actually receive.
Try to take account of everything that you’ll need to spend money on – new work clothes, travel, lunchtime food, as well as your normal day-to-day living costs. If you’re living at home, agree what you will pay towards your upkeep, and stick to it.
Make sure you make the most of the full bank account services you can get when you’re 18 and over.
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