News and Events

An International Students Guide To Budgeting Money

September 22, 2015

One of the biggest challenges that all students face when leaving home is keeping control of their money. Living in another country can be confusing and daunting, especially when using a different currency. So it is important to have a budget so that you do not run out of money or end up in debt.\r\n

Work Out Your Income

\r\nIt’s always important to work out your income for each month. This should include any money from your student loans, university grants and income from any part-time jobs. You may even want to divide your money into weekly chunks as it is much easier manage. It’s likely that your accommodation rent is billed either weekly or monthly.\r\n

Write Down Your Expenditure

\r\nNow you have an idea of how much you will earn, the next thing to work out is how much you need to spend. This means things you cannot avoid paying, like rent and bills. It is very useful to create a spreadsheet with these details on so you can save and edit the sheet anytime. Simply list each of your expenses and how much they cost you. Here are some examples of expenses you cannot avoid:\r\n

    \r\n

  • Course materials
  • \r\n

  • Rent
  • \r\n

  • Transport
  • \r\n

  • Food
  • \r\n

  • Internet & phone
  • \r\n

  • Toiletries
  • \r\n

\r\nIt helps even further to split these up into categories. For example, rent, internet and phone bills would sit under the category ‘home’. Now you have worked out your income and expenditure, you can now work out your own personal budget. Minus your expenditure from your income and you are left with an amount of personal cash that you can spend how you please. \r\n

Personal Budget

\r\nCreate a separate spreadsheet for your personal budget, away from your bills so you do not get them mixed up. This will tell you how much cash you have to spend on whatever you like throughout the month. It is important to keep this updated regularly so you can see where you are spending your money. We recommend using three different columns: one containing the type of expense, one with the amount you spent and one with the amount you spent last month. So for example:\r\n

    \r\n

  • Cinema – £16 this month – £24 last month
  • \r\n

  • Eating out – £25 this month – £15 last month
  • \r\n

\r\nThis will allow you to see where you might be spending too much money and how you can start to save money in the future.\r\n

One Time Purchases

\r\nUnexpected, one-time purchases can come in many forms. Dentist bills, study materials or weekend trips can really stretch a budget. So it is a good idea to leave some money aside in your budget just in case you need to make a one-time unexpected purchase.\r\n\r\nBudgeting is very simple really and can be extremely useful, but only if you keep updating your spreadsheet regularly. It is all about balancing your income with your expenditure and making sure you do not make silly, unnecessary purchases. Keep on top of your finances and they will not be on top of you!\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n