Leaving home and having the best time of your life for three or more years comes at a price.

If you don't set yourself a budget you will soon see your savings dwindle away and your debts start to pile up.

Our checklist includes all the costs you could face during your studies, with some handy links so you can work out how much you need to budget for each.

Personal checklist

Groceries
Gifts for family & friends
Alcohol at home
Clothes
Haircuts
Washing & laundrette costs
Toiletries & cosmetics
Kitchenware

Entertainment checklist

Alcohol on a night out
Pub & nightclub entrance fees
Takeaways
Eating out
Concerts, festivals & sports events
Music, games, DVDs, blu-rays & streaming
Books & stationery
Gym membership
Recreational clubs

Financial checklist

Rent
Bank account
Mobile phone
Gadget Insurance
Internet
Car insurance
Contents insurance
TV licence
Electricity
Gas
Water

Transport checklist

Bus pass
Train tickets
Tube pass
Taxis
Car running costs
Parking permits
Cycling accessories

How can you afford the student life?

If you want to live the university lifestyle to its maximum you need to consider where the money is coming from to fund your nights out and your day-to-day expenses.

Here are your funding options:

Your student loan gives you large sums at the start of each semester. The trick is not to blow all the money on the first few weekends or you will be in real trouble for the remainder of the semester!

If you have relatives who can help with your finances then this can be the cheapest alternative to funding your university lifestyle as you can avoid paying any interest, and if you are lucky you may never need to pay the money back.

For more information on student budgeting read our Ultimate Student Finance Guide For Freshers.

Try a test run!

Try living the life of a student a few weeks before heading off. Give yourself a realistic budget, head down to the shops and buy yourself a week's worth of food. If it comes to more than you thought, just have a few less pints at the pub until you can find cheaper groceries.

Getting a budget right first time isn't easy, so play around with what is important to you on a day-by-day basis and make sure you shop around for the best deals and compare prices in all aspects of your university life.