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It can be very difficult trying to manage a large amount of money for the first time ever. It can also be really overwhelming if you do not know what to do or where to start. So, here are my 5 top tips for managing a student budget (along with some other general advice I wish I was told before I started university!). 

1. Open a student account

Before you can manage your money, it has to have a place to go and in my opinion a student bank account is one of the best ways to do this. These accounts allow you to separate your money from what is yours and what you may receive from a loan. Banks that offer this type of account will normally also give extra benefits when an account is opened with them. This may be vouchers, certain discounts and much more! So make sure you research different banks and what benefits you can receive from them, but make sure it is right for you.

2. Make a plan for your money

When your student finance (if you receive this) has been confirmed, it is really important to figure out how much of this money will be going to different things. The best way I found to do this was by looking at how much money you will receive each term, then calculating the rent of your student accommodation. After this, you then divide what is left by how many weeks are in the term - which then gives you your budget! This gives you an idea of how much money you can spend in a week, which means at the beginning of a new week you know how much to move into your primary account.

3. Be aware of Welcome Week

Everyone loves Welcome Week as people are in high spirits and it is a new and exciting time. However, during this time because people are going out and having a good time, you will spend more than on an average week. Make sure you have enough money from this budget for that first week of term as you normally spend double what you would spend in a normal week.

4. Prioritise essentials

It is very easy to blow through an amount of money on... not a lot! Therefore, you will thank yourself later down the line if you start prioritising allocating money for food shopping and other essentials. This rule goes for paying rent at the start of a new term if you have to. Doing this gives you comfort and security to do other things as you know you have a disposable amount of money to do with whatever you please.

5. Emergencies

In the case of an emergency, for example, your laptop breaks and you need a new one or your student finance does not come into your bank account on time, you need to be able to have a safety net to fall back on. This means saving money! This can be done through a part-time job or factoring an emergency fund into your budget. However, some people like to open an account with an arranged overdraft as this can provide that for you. But, having this can be dangerous as some people may use all of it at once, so don't make dipping into this a habit.

Other general advice is to keep an eye on what you are spending to ensure you are not overspending and running out of money. You have to figure out what is right for you. Finally, you don't have to stick to a very strict budget, just be mindful and sensible with what you spend, as when that money is gone, it is gone!

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undergraduate Finance