Whilst we realise that you might not be able to predict every last pound of income and expenditure for the year ahead we do think that creating a budget based on what you currently know and can reasonably predict will enable you to make a useful and informative forecast. Budgeting can reduce money worries and help you feel more in control of your finances during your studies.
Living and Course Costs
Making a budget can be done using estimations of what you might spend and then updating these once you have tracked your spending for a month or a few weeks. Some outgoings like rent, are likely to be fixed costs and so can be added to your budget at the beginning. The book below may help with some of the fixed and movable costs of studying:
To make sure your budget is as accurate as it can be, consider tracking your outgoings and income for 2-4 weeks. There are a number of tracking or spending apps you can use on your phone or laptop to track your expenses. Or you can use an excel spreadsheet, the notes app on your phone or even pen and paper. Whatever works for you. After 2-4 weeks, try to categorise the outgoings e.g. bills, food, nights out, travel etc. You can then use this information to create a much more accurate budget.
Let’s now look at the most important tool for successful financial management, the Budgeting Tool. A budget tool is designed to help you plan your finance for the year ahead and get the most out of your money.
What if my budget doesn't balance?
If you are spending more money than you have coming in, there are two options:
- Reduce your outgoings - are there any places you could cut back? This will be different for everyone as it depends on your priorities
- Increase your income - are you accessing all the student finance you are entitled to? Have you taken in to account the RVC Bursary if you are eligible? Could you work part time alongside your studies?
If you are an RVC student and would like to discuss possible options for funding or to look at your budget more closely, please book an appointment via Learn with the Student Money Adviser.
If you have questions about funding or finances that are not answered on these pages, please contact our Student Money Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org.