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How do I budget: Top Tips

Take your time

Completing a budget might seem really boring, time-consuming and daunting. It is very tempting to estimate your figures so you can get on with something more interesting. But budgeting is pointless if you are not accurately recording your income and expenditure. So it’s really important you take some time to sit and budget carefully. The better you budget, the less likely you are to get into financial difficulty.

Download or print bank statements, receipts, and funding and award letters

We recommend you download or print any documents that confirm the exact figures you expect to receive or pay out over the year so your budget is as accurate as possible. Whilst it might seem over the top to print out and trawl through your bank statements, you may be surprised by small payments and how these add up.

Remember, if you have multiple bank accounts you will need to look at the spending across all of these accounts.

If you are going to guess your figures (for example, if you work on a zero hour contract and are not guaranteed a set salary), we would always recommend you underestimate your figures. It is better to think you are going to receive less money and work out a plan to increase your income, rather than plan for more income and end up in debt.

Don’t forget anyone

If you have children, or a partner, then you need to make sure you include their income and expenditure in your budget. Budgeting money for just 1 person’s food each week is very different to budgeting for 2 adults and 2 children.

Honesty is the best policy

It’s really important to be honest with yourself when creating a budget. Make sure you accurately record all your spending by reviewing your bank statements when creating your budget. Small payments quickly add up, and you might not even be aware you’re making them.

If you find you need to cut back, then you must be realistic about what you can actually cut out or reduce. The most important thing with any budget is sticking to it, so don’t set yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun!


Prospective Students

If you are a prospective student and you’re looking to get a rough idea of how much it will cost to study at the University of Northampton, you can still use our Budget Calculator.

Remember, as you have not officially secured any funding these figures are approximate and are subject to change according to your individual situation.

* Price correct as of October 2022