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.
Nasma - Money Hints and Tips
Use the tools and tips below to help to increase income or reduce your spending.
There are many useful budgeting guides and budgeting tools available on line, here is a selection of a few. We recommend spending a little time completing a budget for the term or year.
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 Met Students' Union
You can get your tenancy agreement checked before you sign it at the Student Union Advice Centre.
Website: Students' Union Advice
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
Can you work part-time during term or full-time during holidays?
Website: Job Shop
Are you entitled to any tax credits or welfare benefits?
Website: Benefit and Tax Credits
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 1st October 2013 it is £5.03 an hour for people aged between 18 and 20; £6.31 an hour for people aged 21 and over.
Website: Minimum Wage
Student loans, grants and other allowances are not taxable, and students have a tax-free personal allowance just like anyone else. £8,105 for 20012/13.
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
Leeds Met's Tuition Fee Policy can be found on our website under General Regulations
Link: Leeds Met 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.
Use Audio-Visual Loans at the university for any AV equipment that you might need.
Where possible use the library for text books, or buy second hand rather than new textbooks.
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.
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.
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.
Link: Ofwat - Paying your bill
A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50. Fines for using a TV, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV, without a licence can be as much as £1,000 - and you will still have to buy a licence.
Check if you need a TV Licence
You may be able to get a refund of some of your licence fee during the summer if you go away. See the 'students' section on the TV Licensing website.
Students and TV Licences
If you use public transport you may want to take advantage of a weekly or monthly pass.
A StudentPlus MetroCard costs £19.70 per week or £72.90 per month and allows unlimited travel on bus and limited rail travel in West Yorkshire. You must be aged under 22 or a full-time student.
You can get special student rates for bus travel on First Buses within the centre of Leeds, either throughout Leeds or within the 'Green Zone'.
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
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
Find out about your rights when buying a TV, Internet and Phone package
Which? Guide to Broadband
Find out about broadband speed
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
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.