How do I budget: Expenditure

As a student, the money you spend (your expenditure) fluctuates throughout the year. You may have to pay rent in termly instalments, utility bills quarterly, or other costs annually.

As such, it’s really important to get to grips with your spending and understand your bill payment schedules so that you don’t run out of money.

Your expenditure should be prioritised according to the consequences of not paying these costs. So, let’s establish the difference between priority and non-priority expenditure.

Priority Expenditure

Priority expenditure is essential payments you need to survive, and payments that you must make in order to avoid severe consequences (like involvement of debt collection agencies, repossession of your belongings, or eviction).

Within your budget you must prioritise:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Council tax
  • Utility bills (Gas, Electricity, Water, Council Tax)
  • Grocery shopping
  • TV Licence (if applicable)
  • Finance plans (e.g. car finance)
  • Court fines
  • Child maintenance
  • Arrears on bills and priority debt

Non-Priority Expenditure

Non-priority expenditure is spending that you do not necessarily need to survive, but that is likely still important to you.

Non-priority expenditure includes things like:

  • Fashion clothing and footwear
  • Cosmetics and treatments
  • Mobile phone, tablet, and smart watch contracts
  • Takeaways
  • Social events
  • Holidays
  • Travel

Working out your expenditure

The most common budgeting mistake is estimating your figures. We would strongly recommend you download and review your latest 3 months bank statements and any financial contracts you hold for the clearest picture of your spending.