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Be money smart

DMU have teamed up with financial education specialists Blackbullion.

Blackbullion is a learning platform created to help you get to grips with all things money related. It’s filled with videos, graphics, and quizzes covering financial subjects designed to empower you to make more informed financial decisions.

Register for free with your university email address


Pathways available include a 21-Day Money Bootcamp, International Students, Starting University, Savings, Budgeting, Debt, Risk Management.

60% of students felt more in control of their finances after using Blackbullion

Privacy notice

Please note that information about the online learning pathways you have undertaken, and the scores achieved, will be visible to certain staff in University who will use this data to monitor the use of Blackbullion to help inform our financial capability work within the University. You can find information about data held and processed by Blackbullion in the Blackbullion Privacy Notice.

The hidden costs of going to university

It can be difficult to anticipate every expense you will be hit with during your time at University but being prepared for some of the unexpected costs involved is a good way of keeping your spending in check. Get ahead by incorporating these into your budget.

Click on the relevant drop-down boxes below for more information about the the topics covered in the video above. 

  1. Parental contributions

    The amount of SFE funding you receive is based on parental/household income. This means that your finances depend on how much your parents/partner earn. If you get less than the full loan, your parents/partner are expected to make up the difference. This is not so clear on SFE correspondence. The Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, has produced a number of guides for students about student funding, in particular a guide on parental contribution.

  2. Rent deposits

    Before you even receive your student funding, you may have to make an advanced payment/deposit towards your rent. This could be as soon as you secure your accommodation or just before you move in, to release the keys. Please check housing adverts and contracts carefully so that you are not caught out.

  3. TV licenses

    If you are watching, streaming or recording live television programmes then you will need a TV licence. Check your housing contract. The TV Licensing website has more information.

  4. Course costs

    Text books and equipment can be very expensive. Do your research and make sure you budget accordingly. You can buy second-hand text books online or from other students. Save The Student has some other ideas on how to save money on course costs.

  5. Student contents insurance

    It's recommended that you take out Student Contents Insurance. You could also check your parent’s policy to see if you are covered even if living elsewhere. Endsleigh Insurance is recommended by the NUS.

  6. Food costs

    Homemade food is not only healthier but so much more cost effective. Taking a packed lunch onto campus will save you £££ over time. Learn how to cook and say goodbye to those expensive takeaways!

  7. Childcare grant

    The Childcare Grant from Student Finance England only pays for 85% of childcare costs. This means you will need to pay the remaining 15% yourself.

  8. Council tax

    If your household are all full-time students you will not need to pay Council Tax, however if you live with a non-student, the Council Tax bill will just be reduced by 25%. Make sure you discuss this with your household to establish a fair split of the bill. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website has more information.

    If you’re a full-time student, you can download a Council Tax Exemption letter from the My Documents tile on My DMU. Follow the guidance to find out how.

  9. Utility bills

    When renting, you're free to switch utility provider if you pay the energy company directly (rather than your landlord) but do check your tenancy agreement – some contracts ban switching. There are various price comparison sites that you can try:

    • uSwitch
    • Money Supermarket
    • Compare The Market
    • If you are moving into a private, shared student house or flat, think about splitting the utility bills between housemates. This will mean that you are each responsible for a bill, rather than just one person having all the bills in your name only, because if any of the tenants move out part way through the tenancy, they could leave you lumbered with their share of the bills!

  10. Tax

    Students are taxed just like anyone else. If you earn less than £12,500 a year, you shouldn't pay any tax so check your payslips. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website has more information.

  11. Summer rent retainers

    When securing your accommodation for the next academic year, letting agents and landlords will usually require either a deposit or a retainer. You will need to budget for this cost from your current academic year’s finances.