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Budgeting basics

Creating a budget plan and sticking to it can be harder than it sounds, however learning to manage your finances is a useful life skill to acquire.

At the Advice Service, we recognise that financial difficulties are becoming increasingly common. With the rise in living and accommodation costs, plus cuts to financial support for students, ensuring you manage your finances and create a budget plan is more important now than ever.

Here we have pulled together our top budgeting basics to help you manage your money on a budget:

Boosting your income

It is really important to understand exactly how much money you will have coming in, and when. This will enable you to build a picture of what your income is going to look like across the year, helping you to create a budget plan.


Make sure you have explored all the funding options available to you. If you are unsure as to what your student finance entitlement is then please get in touch with the Advice Service who can advise you on this. There may also be other options you haven’t yet explored such as applying to charities or trusts for extra funding.

Part-time work

Lots of students find that they need to work part-time in order to pay for their living expenses. However, please try and keep in mind how important it is to create a work/life balance that is manageable.

The University of Manchester Careers Service has links and tips for finding a part-time job: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/findjobs/workwhilestudy/parttime/

Sell your clutter

Most of us have items that we no longer use any more. Why not have a clear out and sell these on as a means to try and give your finances a quick boost? There is a marketplace on the University website which allows students to sell and buy items: http://themarketplace.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/

Managing your expenditure

Make a list of all your essential out-goings e.g. rent, bills, and food per term/month. Once you have done this take that number from your termly/monthly incomings to figure out how much you have left to spend on the non-essentials. If it is looking like a tight squeeze then you may need to consider limiting your non-essential expenses.


Your largest non-essential expenditure is going to be socialising — whether it’s a night out, cinema, or going for a meal or out to lunch. Going out and socialising with friends is a large part of university life.

To put it into perspective if you buy lunch 3x a week at a fiver a go, then in one academic year that will cost you around £600. It may be worthwhile making extra when you cook so that you can take it to university with you. The Students’ Union have microwaves available for students to heat up their lunch on the go!


Clothes are something we all need but it can be so easy to splurge on that extra top or pair of jeans you’ve had your eye on. Try to have staple pieces in your wardrobe that you can dress up or down. If you see something you like then try not to act on impulse, go away from the shop and have a think if you really need it or if you will wear it often.

There are loads of selling sites around and plenty of charity shops so why not look at buying some second-hand items. Some things are good as new and it is a great way to get labels at a fraction of the price, plus vintage is a great look!

If you have an NUS extra card you can also get student discounts on loads of items so make sure you shop around to get the best deal.

Staying active

Staying active need not cost you a pretty penny. A gym membership can be costly but there are plenty of exercise apps you can use if you want to exercise for free!

There are also lots of sporting facilities available for UoM students to take advantage of. This includes cut-price gym membership and exercise classes for as little as £2 per class!

Take a look at the following links to find out more:



Further budgeting advice can also be found by using Blackbullion where you can access a number of budgeting modules online. To take a look at the modules and register just go to www.blackbullion.com

Tags: advicecolumn, budgeting, Lifestyle, student

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