Budgeting Tools and Tips
Budgeting is an important life skill.
Planning ahead to spend within your limits, or looking in advance at ways of increasing income or reducing spending, can help to enhance your university experience and avoid money worries.
Use the tools and tips below to help to increase income or reduce your spending.
Many students move from halls into a shared student house after their first year at university. To avoid problems and to get the best from renting privately, look at the websites below:
Citizens Advice Guide
Factsheet: Problems in shared accommodation
Website: Unipol Leeds - Information for students in Leeds
Leeds Beckett Students' Union
You can get your tenancy agreement checked before you sign it at the Student Union Advice Centre.
Website: Students' Union Advice
Find out about how your Tenancy Deposit is protected
For information and advice on all housing matters call Shelter on 0808 800 4444
A useful guide to opening a student bank account is provided by Martin Lewis on his Money Saving Expert site.
Link: Money Saving Expert
Are you entitled to Universal Credit or other benefits?
Have you overpaid tax on a holiday job?
Link: Student Jobs and Tax
Earnings from part-time, temporary or casual employment will not affect your student support award.
The Minimum Wage
The Minimum Wage is updated each year. From April 2018 it is £5.90 an hour for people aged between 18 and 20; £7.38 an hour for people aged between 21 and 24 and £7.83 for over 25s.
Website: Minimum Wage
Student loans, grants and other allowances are not taxable, and students have a tax-free personal allowance just like anyone else which is £11,850 in 2018/19.
Website: HMRC Personal Allowances
Have you taken out a loan to pay your fees?
Most full-time and part-time undergraduate students do not need to pay tuition fees upfront. You can apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England. Students from other EU Countries can also apply for a tuition fee loan.
Apply online: Gov.uk
If you are paying tuition fees yourself, you can find out more about our payment terms from Financial Services.
Link: Tuition Fees Payment
Our Tuition Fee Policy can be found on our website under General Regulations
Link: Leeds Beckett Student Regulations
Before you start your course ask your course administrator what extra expenses you can expect for example; field trips or placements, so that you can build them into your budget.
- Buy fresh produce rather than pre-prepared meals; it is healthier and cheaper.
- Buy in bulk and use supermarket own brands.
- Take advantage of supermarket offers.
- Cook with friends and share meals and costs.
- Make your own sandwiches for lunch.
- Shop around
- Money Advice Service Smarter Shopping
Make sure you inform the fuel companies of the day you move in and out of a property.
Take meter readings and keep a record.
Arrange to pay bills monthly or weekly so that costs don't mount up. Check your bills for ways to pay.
If you live in a shared house, make sure everyone's names are on the bill - don't end up liable for the whole bill on your own.
Find out about switching energy suppliers at Ofgem's site.
Check out the money saving tips from the Energy Saving Trust.
Link: Energy Saving Trust
Struggling to pay an energy bill:
Link: Citizens Advice
Water may be included in your rent. If not, inform Yorkshire Water of the day you move in and the day you move out, so that you do not end up paying someone else's bill.
You can make arrangements to pay by instalments, both for metered and unmeasured supplies.
Link: Yorkshire Water
Overdue water bill? You can't be cut off but you can be taken to court.
You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.
This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. If you do any of the above without a valid licence, you risk prosecution and a maximum penalty of up to £1,000, plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. You will also still have to buy a TV Licence if you need one. To find out more, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo.
How can I buy a TV Licence?
There are lots of different ways to buy a TV Licence. Whether that’s through weekly cash payments, using your nearest PayPoint outlet, spreading the cost with monthly, quarterly or yearly direct debit, credit/debit card or by post – just choose the one that suits you best. For more information on the ways to pay, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/payinfo.
If I live in halls, won’t I already be covered by a TV Licence?
Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you're plugged in to watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls' manager to see if they’re covered by a halls' licence.
What if I live in a shared house?
You'll probably only need one licence between you if you have a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house – this is the most common type of shared house arrangement. You might need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained. That means you have exclusive access to washing facilities, or your own entrance to the property. You will also need your own licence if you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room. If you're not sure, check our advice for tenants and lodgers.
Won't my parents' licence cover me?
Your parents' licence will not cover you while you're away at uni unless you only use a device that's powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.
What if I'm not at uni for the summer?
If you're leaving your halls or rented accommodation and moving back home for the summer, there's a good chance you won't need your TV Licence if there's one at home. You can see our policy and apply for a refund online.
What if I don’t need a licence?
If you don’t need a TV Licence, we would ask you to let TV Licensing know so that they can update their details. They won’t then send you any letters for approximately two years.
If you use public transport you may want to take advantage of a weekly or monthly pass:
- Student MCard
A 19-25 or Student Photo MCard from Metro costs £23.40 per week or £88.60 per month and allows unlimited travel on bus and limited rail travel in West Yorkshire. Or, a Bus only Photo Mcard will cost £15.40 per week or £59.50 per month.
- First Buses
You can get special student rates for bus travel around Leeds on First Buses, either monthly at £45 or termly for £145. But, you need to buy these at the beginning or a term or calendar month to get the full value.
- There is a £1 per trip bargain First Bus running between Headingley and Leeds University on services 1,6,28 & 97.
If you are aged 16-25 or a full-time student over 25 you can get a 16-25 Railcard and save a third on train fares in the UK.
If you are under 19 and studying full-time you can still get free health benefits, e.g. prescriptions and dental treatment.
Almost all other students will have to apply on Claim Form HC1 for help to reduce the cost of NHS charges on the basis of low income.
You can get an HC1 from your doctor, dentist or optician. You can also order an HC1 form by contacting the Health Cost advice line on 0845 850 1166.
See the information leaflet HC11 for more details.
Think about insuring your belongings, they could be expensive to replace.
First check to see if you are covered under your parents' policy.
There are several insurance schemes designed specifically for students. For example; the NUS are partners with Endsleigh Insurance
Our university can offer students free comprehensive travel insurance for University related travel outside of the UK such as placements, field trips and University volunteering trips. Insurance cover can be provided for up to four week holidays if a student is staying in the same country as the university related travel.
- Do your research before signing a mobile phone contract.
- Ask around to find what the best mobile phone deals are.
- If you have a monthly limit on texts, calls and internet use, find out what it is and stay within it to avoid extra charges.
- Make sure you know about what you are being charged for your call, some numbers can be more expensive.
- Protect your mobile phone and other property
Link: Citizens' Advice Guide
Knowing your rights under consumer law could save you money.
To get help and advice about your rights phone Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Students in Higher Education also have consumer rights
Higher Education: Guide to Consumer Rights for Students
Get an NUS card for a huge range of discounts on loads of great things from food and drink, to clothes, travel and shopping:
NUS Extra Card
Discount voucher websites can help you save money, but be wary of being persuaded to buy something that you wouldn't otherwise have bought.