Budgeting and Debt

Students increasingly have to manage on a very low income. Managing your money by working out a budget will help you to avoid financial problems. We can offer budgeting advice if you are struggling to manage your money, so please speak to an advisor.  We can help you maximise your income by knowing what is available to you and how best to manage your money.


Why budget?

Budgeting can help you get a clear picture of your circumstances and help ensure you have enough money for your priority needs. It can reduce impulsive spend and avoiding getting you into unwanted debt. It helps you identify where you could cut back if needed and in situations where you owe money provide information about what you can afford to repay.


How to budget:

Budgeting is about taking your income (loans, grants, bursaries, benefits, part-time work) and adding it all together and doing the same for all your outgoings. Once you have these two figures you can see what the difference is between them and if you have a surplus or deficit of money.


If you have a deficit you need to look at ways of either increasing your income or reducing your spending. Look at our suggestions for boosting your budget as well as our top saving tips to help with your budget.

Why not try the online tool Student Budget Calculator (by UCAS) which is available here: https://www.ucas.com/finance/managing-money/budget-calculator.


If finances are getting you down and you are in the red, try not to panic. You need to sort out which debts are priorities and which are not. Use our guide below to help you out:


Priority and non-priority debts

Priority debts should be paid before other debts.  Priority debts include rent or mortgage arrears, council tax arrears, gas and electricity debts, TV license debts, secured personal loans, county court judgements (CCJs) and fines imposed by the Magistrates Court.

Non-priority debts include credit card and store card debts, overdrafts, unsecured personal loans and most other credit debts. These should be paid when priority debts are dealt with.


The Debts to the university may be priority debts if they stop you progressing on your course, such as tuition fee debts. Citizens Advice website has a guide to different priority debts here: Get help with your debts, available @ https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/


What happens if I do not pay my debts?

Ignoring any debt can result in losing access to services, the debt increasing in interest and/or charges are added.  Your creditors can also take you to court.  If a County Court Judgement is made against you, you may have trouble getting credit in the future.  If your creditors are taking court action, it is not too late to negotiate or get advice.


If you are struggling with debt (whether at university or otherwise) please get in touch with us so that one of our trained advisors can help you with negotiation or to look at practical ways to deal with them.


Further, if you are a vulnerable student, for example if you have a disability or some other impairment, remember that there are protections in place to help ensure that you are not disadvantaged by debt collection processes.

Undeb Aber Advice & Support

The Undeb Aber Advice service is independent from the University and provides a free, confidential and impartial service to all Aberystwyth University students. 

Contact an Advisor


First Produced: April 2022

Reviewed: April 2024