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91% of students don't know how to budget, says survey

24th June 2014

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The vast majority of students have no confidence in their budgeting skills, whilst 51% run out of money before the next loan installment and 83% want better financial advice, according to research published today.

This means that over 90% of students (a massive 1.6 million) might be making bad decisions when it comes to money. Only one in ten of those questioned in the survey said that they were ‘confident’ in their ability to budget.

Just 9% said that they have a strong understanding of debt, saving and investing, and 51% admitted to running out of money before their next loan installment lands in their account.

The research, carried out by advice service Blackbullion, asked 553 students about their financial situation. The survey also discovered that 61% of students don’t understand the terms of their loan when they apply for it, and 83% feel that they need more financial education to give them a better knowledge of money matters. 

And it doesn’t look like students are starting their university careers on a good financial note, either: 44% head to university with no savings at all, and 15% are already in debt.

Despite these findings, and the fact that students run out of money regularly, only just over a third (32%) proactively try to manage their finances by budgeting regularly.

Blackbullion offers the following advice for students this summer:

  • Be realistic. If budgeting hasn’t worked, or you’ve never tried it before, think about how much you’ll spend and how much things really cost. Don’t be one of those students (61%) who try to budget but don’t stick to it. You don’t need to track every penny but you do need to be honest about your spending habits. Think about what you could change to spend less like buying a coffee before lectures. You may think it’s just a pound or two here or there, but these costs add up over the long term.
  • Plan in advance to make your student loan last. The vast majority of students (91%) have regretted a purchase, so beware midnight shopping splurges and that last minute train ticket. Be clever about your spending by shopping around using comparison websites to save money on essentials like possessions insurance.
  • Seek out the help you could be entitled to. You’re not alone if you haven’t looked up financial support options - in fact the majority of students (57%) don’t do their research. But if you get ahead of the game and ask about the types of funding and supportoffered at your university or through external organisations you could give yourself the safety net you need.
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