When your student loan first arrives, it can feel like a never-ending supply of money; however, it’s important to budget this with some level of care. It can disappear very quickly, especially in the first term when you’re getting settled in and may need extra necessities to stock up for your move. Once you’re fully aware of your income for the year, there’s no better time to start planning out your finances.
First, you should set aside money for the “rigid” essentials, e.g., your rent, food, travel, bills and phone bill. Staying at Storthes Hall Park eases the planning for some of these, as all bills are included as standard with your rent in addition to the university bus service being free – although it’s still important to set aside travel money for trips back home or nights out. Food may fluctuate week by week depending on whether you eat out, where you shop and how much you can make purchases last, therefore it’s a good idea to leave some allowance on your weekly spend and save any money that gets left over. Generally, Huddersfield is a cheaper than average place to live in the UK, especially with DIGS – while the average student rent comes to around £156 across the country, rent at Storthes Hall Park falls as low as £81 per week, leaving plenty more wiggle room for food and amenities.
Once everything to keep you on your feet is accounted for, the rest of your money can be used for leisure and anything that might help with your school life, such as textbooks or equipment. Solid budgeting should leave you with a good amount of money for anything you want to go out and spend your money on to enjoy uni life – however, try to never use all this remaining money in case of any unexpected bills or necessities.
From personal experience, budgeting living at DIGS Storthes Hall Park has been unexpectedly easy – I’ve found that stocking up on essentials (toiletries, long-lasting bulk food such as rice and frozen veg, cleaning supplies) sets aside a small chunk of your budget but makes planning for the following weeks significantly easier, since you have a few things that you won’t soon have to worry about stocking up on. I noted that I was unexpectedly low on clothes when arriving, however budgeting left me enough space to buy some extra things to wear – and in turn save a tiny bit of money on laundrette runs! Food wise, you can cut down your expenses easily by researching the cheapest shops in the area, sometimes even shopping around different places if you have the time and energy to save the extra pennies.
By Kit Le Bihan
2nd year student living at DIGS Storthes Hall Park, Huddersfield