A female student sits at a computer taking notes and consulting her phone as she manages her budget.


Your Finances


Your Income

The first step to managing your money is to work out your income. You will most likely have a steady stream of funding that will remain the same during your time at Oxford. Please note that government funding may be less in your final year as you will not be classed as a student over the summer period once you have completed your final exams and assessments.

Your income could be supplemented with a job during the long vacation. Visiting the Careers Service at will provide you with information about paid employment during the long vacation.


Your Spending

Now that you understand your income it is time to estimate your outgoings. There may be termly fixed costs, such as College rents, or more regular spending such as food. Attempt to make a budget of your spending for the term. Be sure to include all known payments and try to estimate the possible cost of other items such as food or entertainment. The University have produced an estimate of living costs based upon an Oxford Student Union Survey. This may be a good place to begin.

Be sure to consider any other irregular expenses that may come at the end of a term, such as vacation rents or cost of travel to and from Oxford. You will need to include those in your initial calculations and keep funds available. 

Be realistic

Ensure that your basic needs are met in your budget, you must ensure you have budgeted enough for your survival and sustenance. Also ensure that you have space for activities outside of your basic needs. If you are budgeting correctly there should be fund available for socialising with friends or for your hobbies. 

Distinguishing ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ 

Be sure to identify whether an item in your budget is something you need to survive as opposed to something you want to have. Your needs should always be prioritised above those things it would be nice to have.

Track your Spending

And Progress

A significant part of budgeting is reviewing your progress. Track your spending either on Excel or a budgeting app. Work your way through your bank statement and categorise the payments. This is the best way to ensure you are staying within your means and allow you to finesse your budget moving forwards. Some banks include features in their mobile apps that automatically categorise your payments and can be extremely useful.

After this exercise you may find you still have funds remaining, it would be prudent to keep these in reserve if you can; this will save you from the stress of any last-minute expenses. If you find that you are spending more than your means then this needs to be addressed in your future spending. 

This activity should be done as regularly as you are able to ensure you are still on track. 

Creating an allowance

Another option for managing spending is to work out a weekly allowance and only allow yourself to access that value. You can do this by moving the remaining balance into a separate account. 

An allowance allows you to stay within your means and not having to itemise spending as advised above. Be sure that any large upcoming bills are deducted before you work out that your allowance would be. 

A Word

On Credit

Please be extremely careful when using forms of credit, such as, but not limited to, overdrafts and credit cards. If you are relying on credit to pay for regular outgoings, then you are almost certainly living outside your means. This credit will need to be repaid (most likely with interest) and you will likely find yourself in a similar situation in the following period. We understand you may need to use your overdraft from time to time but if this is the case you will need to adjust your spending to ensure you do not accumulate more debt in the future.

Some Ways of

Preventing Fraud

Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to an organisation or individual without first verifying their credentials. Instead contact the company directly using a known email or phone number that you have confirmed.

Ensure your computer has the most up to date anti-virus and firewall installed. Always set up two-factor authentication online where possible. Consider using a password manager and external authenticator. 

Most fraud begins with phishing (a call, email or letter requesting your information.) Remember that email addresses and phone numbers can be spoofed so never assume who you are communicating with. Banks or governments agencies should not request details from you in this way. 

Destroy and preferably shred any personal and financial information. It does not take a lot of information to clone your identity. 

Never feel rushed to do something; fraud works best when you are forced to make quick decisions without thinking them through. Finally, if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is. You can see some helpful advice and information about types of fraud to look for on the Barclays Fraud page.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud you should contact the police by calling 101. If you believe someone is trying to commit fraud, then you can report this to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting


Bank Accounts

If you have not already done so, it is worth looking into opening a student bank account. The UCAS personal status codes you used when applying to university will come in handy in setting up bank accounts, as they will allow banks or building societies to confirm your status as a future student. The UCAS website has some helpful information about when to set up a bank account and how to open them. 

Although many banks try to tempt students with special offers, these are not the only factors to consider when choosing an account. You may want to think about the following points:

•    What is the overdraft facility? This should be interest and charge free. Consider how much is available in each year of your course and when you are expected to pay it back.

•    Does it have a branch in Oxford? Bank branches in university cities tend to have Student Advisers with whom you can discuss budgeting and overdraft needs.

•    What happens when you finish your course? Several banks provide a graduate account for a number of years after graduation, which allows you longer to pay back any overdraft you have incurred.

Employment and


During term time you will have very little time for even a part-time job, although there may be opportunities for you to do a limited amount of paid work within colleges. The summer vacation is at least three months long, which gives you time to earn money and gain valuable work experience. The University Careers Service has plenty of information about available opportunities; visit  for further details. In the Christmas and Easter vacations you may also have some time for part-time work, but bear in mind that you are likely to have academic work to complete over the holiday. 

For information about how students are taxed when working in the holidays, please visit



Many businesses offer discounts to students, so it’s worth asking before paying for goods to make your money stretch a little further.

Many local stores will accept your University Card, however some high street chains might require an NUS Extra Card. These can be purchased via There are also a number of websites you can register with for access to online student discounts such as  and student beans.

Paperwork &

Useful Websites

It is important to keep hold of paperwork relating to your finances as you may need it later. You may prefer to keep digital copies as these can be easily accessed when you are at Oxford or at home. If you apply for hardship you will be required to provide copies of these documents.

We would particularly advise keeping records of the following:

•    Financial notification letter from the Student Loans Company

•    Oxford Bursary or Crankstart Scholarship letter

•    Scholarship and award letters

•    Notification of hardship payments

•    Tenancy agreement and inventory (if you’re living out)

•    Battels statements.

Useful websites include: