Managing your money

Managing your money

You’ll need to develop your money management skills before you start your placement. This page includes some tips to help you develop your money management skills and includes some useful information about tax.

Don’t forget to check out our Funding page for details about what to do about your student loan, and finding out about bursaries. Additional information can also be found on the SHU Student Funding page.


Blackbullion is a really good website with information about developing money management skills. You can sign up for free using your SHU email address.

Try the Funding for students on a Work Placement article and the Budgeting 101 pathway to get started. Get more tips on saving ahead of your placement year with Blackbullion’s Savings pathway.

Here are some helpful tips for making the most of your money:

  • Use comparison sites to try and find cheaper deals on your insurance, TV, broadband, and mobile phone deals. There are sites such as Split the Bills to help share the costs with housemates.
  • Get familiar with your payday and payslip. Make sure you prioritise the essentials with your first wage – rent, food and travel costs.
  • Set direct debits up for your essential bills around the date you get paid, so you don’t fall behind.
  • Utilise your student discount, using sites such as UniDays and apps such as Fever to find deals and offers in your area.
  • Look out for discounted student subscription options offered by music, movie and TV streaming platforms.

Income Tax, National Insurance & Council Tax

Income Tax & National Insurance in the UK

If you earn over the tax threshold on your placement year and you’re working in the UK, you’ll have to pay income tax. This will usually be automatically taken from your payslip through Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

The standard Personal Allowance is currently £12,570 (tax year 2021/22), which is the amount of income you do not have to pay tax on. You will therefore have to pay income tax for any income over £12,570.

Find out what the current rate and personal allowance is on the Income Tax rates and Personal Allowances page on the UK Government website.

You will also need to pay National Insurance contributions. These are also deducted by your employer and the current rates are available on the how much you pay page on the UK Government website.

Council Tax in the UK

You will need to pay Council Tax unless you are able to apply for an exemption. If you’re living in student halls or in a rented property where all other tenants are full-time students, you are usually exempt from paying council tax. Whilst on your placement year, you are still enrolled as a full-time student but you will need to check against your specific situation, who you’re living with and apply for a discount or exemption. Each council sets its own rates and makes its own decisions on eligibility for exemptions, so look up your local council to find out what the rates and rules are. If you need a letter to confirm that you are still in full-time education, you can print this via the University's 'My Student Record' portal, if you’re staying in Sheffield, or contact the Work Experience Team if your local council requires specific wording in the letter.

Tax overseas

If you’re working outside the UK, you will need to check how much tax you will need to pay and how to pay it. Your placement provider should be able to help you with this, but you can also check this on the embassy website of the country you will be working in.