We know thinking about money can be a bit overwhelming but it’s really important to get your money sorted and start your uni life understanding your finances.

There are a few things you can do before you get here that will make your life easier.

Thinking about how you will fund your studies

So you’ve decided to go to uni – woohoo! One thing to think about now is how you'll fund your studies.

Thankfully we’ve got a whole webpage devoted to Funding Your Studies that should give you all the information you need.

Student placing a folded up bank note into a pink piggy bank

Apply for your student loan

If you’re entitled to a student loan, we really encourage you to apply as early as possible as there can be a lot of paperwork to get through which means it can take a while for the money to arrive in your bank account. Check out the relevant funding authorities to understand their processes and any key dates you need to work towards.

Understand your tuition fees

Your tuition fee cost will vary depending on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by whether you are classified as a home student (NI/ROI), a GB student or an International and EU student (excluding ROI).

If you have a tuition fee query or want to know how to make payment for tuition fees, guidance is available on the Fees and Funding pages. You can also contact the finance team via the Tuition Fee Query Form.

Open a student bank account

You may want to think about opening a student bank account. Banking can be a bit confusing especially if this is the first time you’ve had to arrange payment of rent and bills.

But we’re here to help! We’ve got a whole guide on basic banking facilities and how different bank accounts work so make sure you give it a read before getting here.

Blonde woman throws bank notes into the air

Make a budget

We know this sounds dull but It's really useful and important. Spending a bit of time now working on your budget can alleviate any stress down the line and allow you to sit back and enjoy your university experience.

You don’t want to get to the end of semester one and find you’ve run out of money!

Tracking your spending

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you reckon you spent over the last few days. Now, log into your mobile banking and have a look at what you actually did spend. Do the numbers match?

Tracking your spending will give you a clear picture of where your money is going. It can help you budget, make you more aware of any potential fraudulent transactions on your account, and ensure you have enough cash left over each month for essential outgoings like rent.

Essential versus non-essential spending

As we’ve just mentioned, rent is a pretty essential outgoing. If you don’t pay your rent, you face getting evicted. Have a proper think about what’s an essential cost and what’s a non-essential cost.

For example, holidays are great fun! Everyone loves a holiday! But if you overspend on a nice holiday you may not have enough money left over for rent or tuition fees or to pay your bus fare to get you to class...

Use Money Saving Expert's Demotivator to work out what you spend on non-essentials and help you prioritise!

Cooking versus eating out

We get it. It’s so tempting to grab a fresh coffee on the way to campus or splurge on a pizza after a long day in class. But it’s easy to fritter away more money on takeaways than you realise.

A takeaway coffee can cost £2-3 a go. But you can get a jar of instant coffee from £1 at some supermarkets which makes approximately 50 cups!

top view budget written note on notepad with pen on dark background gray student color school money

Have a look at sample budgets and make your own

Your budget will obviously depend on your own individual circumstances but it can be helpful to take a look at some budget tools to see how outgoings are broken down and make sure you haven't missed anything.

UCAS has a really helpful section on how to add up your income, cover your essential outgoings and figure out what you may have leftover. There is also a student budget calculator to help tally up your costs.

Discounts and offers for students

Your Student ID card can often be a gateway to great savings at a range of retailers. When shopping it’s always worth asking if they offer a student discount. You can also take a look at the UNiDAYS app, which lists different discounts and offers available to students.

We also source offers and discounts for Ulster students ahead of Welcome Week so keep an eye on our Offers page to bag some great offers shared by local businesses near your campus.

Help with your finances

We hope this blog has given you an idea of how to start sorting your money before you get here. If you ever find yourself in financial difficulties or you need advice about your finances, our Student Wellbeing team are on-hand to help you.

We also offer additional financial support at Ulster University through our Scholarships and Student Opportunity Fund. You can also browse our Student Money pages for more informtion on budgeting, money management and funding queries.