If there is one thing that you can guarantee that all students will talk about, it is money. Or rather, the lack of it. Going to college is for many people the first time that they have had to seriously take care of themselves. Who needs to worry about overdrafts and budgets when you are at school and live with mum and dad?

The principles of budgeting are incredibly simple. Don't spend more than you have. Putting those principles in to practice can be incredibly hard though, and many new students get in to all sorts of trouble.

New students are often advised to make up a `spending plan', listing how much they will spend on rent and food and bills and going out. The problem with these plans is two-fold. First, you will almost always spend more than you think you will. Second, there is no way of planning for all those "little" expenses during the week (like a sandwich from the shop, or a quick drink with a friend at lunch). All these costs add up by stealth. Before you know it, you really have a lot less than you thought you did. Just check out this average week...

MONDAY

No sooner have you recovered from the weekend than THE LANDLORD COMES KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR!

Pay pounds 35-40 rent NOW!

If you are in London, double-trouble!

Expect to pay pounds 60 minimum

TUESDAY

You decide the weekly trip to the supermarket is now vital.

Pay pounds 10-15

After your shopping trip you go in to college for lectures. You were just going to come back home when you bump in to a friend you haven't seen for ages. You go for lunch with them.

Pay pounds 5-10

WEDNESDAY

Oh dear! The bills are coming through the door, and you and your house- mates can't put them off any more!

ELECTRICITY: Pay pounds 5 a week

GAS: Pay pounds 5 a week

PHONE: Pay up to pounds 5 a week.

After the stress of paying those bills, and a heavy day of lectures, you all decide to go out that evening for a few pints to unwind. Nothing heavy though...

Pay pounds 5-10

THURSDAY

Essay deadline looms, and you really need that book the lecturer has been on about for ages. But someone else has taken it out of the library. There's a copy in the book shop though...

Pay pounds 10

FRIDAY

Your travel funds are rapidly diminishing, as you flit back and forth between college and home. A travel pass is about to become a necessity.

Pay pounds 5-10 a week

Which means you can now get in to town and buy that amazing top you've been after for ages. It's a luxury, but...

Pay pounds 15

SATURDAY

Hey, it's the weekend! You're young, full of life, up for a good time. Go out and enjoy yourself! There's a massive night out at THE club in town. You'd be mad to miss it...

Pay pounds 10 to get in

Pay pounds 1 for cloakroom

Pay pounds 5 for drinks

Pay pounds 5 for taxis there and back

Pay pounds 3 at the ubiquitous kebab

house

SUNDAY

After the revelries of the night before a quiet, relaxing day is in order. But a trip to the launderette is DEFINITELY needed, especially to wash that extremely sweaty gear you had on last night!

Pay pounds 2.50

And how about rounding off the week with a good film at the cinema in town. Good job you can get student discounts there.

Pay pounds 3

GRAND TOTAL

UP TO pounds 150 A WEEK!

When you add up the figures it's a pretty frightening statistic isn't it? And this is not an unreasonable week. So it really is vital to budget, and to realise that you can't go out or buy nice clothes every week. If you are not going to cripple yourself with debt, and put a large hole in your parents' savings, you're going to have to get real with money!

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