Being a student has lots of challenges, and one of them is learning how to manage your money. 

This new-found independence of university life puts you in control of your money, often for the first time. Before splashing the cash, think about what’s the best way to spend it before it’s all gone. Managing your finances and having a budget is a crucial part of getting through university. Here are our top tips to help you manage your money at university.


The Importance Of Budgeting:

 Budgeting is not as scary as it sounds, but it is something that you will need to get into the habit of doing whilst you are at university. Otherwise you might find yourself spending almost your entire student loan within the first few weeks. It’s a good idea to work out a budget based on the money you have coming in and out, regularly.

It would be sensible to set a budget for each week or month, either way is good, just make sure it works for you. Make a list of all your expenses; utilities, rent, and groceries, as well as your total student income; maintenance loans, grants or any savings/investments. Knowing exactly what you can afford to spend each week and month will help you keep your finances on track. This will make it much easier to allocate money towards social events, meals out and travel based on how much you have left to spend.

Don’t panic – there are loads of student-friendly budgeting tools and apps available that you can take advantage of to make your life just that little bit easier! Simply keep track of your money at the touch of a button. Apps such as Monzo will help you keep track of your spending by categorising what you’re purchasing – sounds great right? This will help you to manage your funds and know where to cut back, by receiving spending updates, budget and bill splitting. Most importantly, don’t forget to monitor your spending habits. See here how to budget using Monzo.


Supermarket Savvy:

You will need to become more of a savvy food shopper in order to cut back costs. Supermarkets are often shouting about offers and discounts; use these to your advantage when living on a student budget. Be smart about this however, it is worth calculating whether these offers will actually save you money or not.

How much you spend on food will vary depending on where you shop and how much you cook. You will save money if you stay in and cook yourself or with your friends, rather than racking up bills by relying on takeaways and eating out too often. Every now and again eating out is a lovely treat, but keep this to a minimum if you can. Instead, try to get into a habit of making weekly meal plans and doing a big weekly shop rather than buying for each meal at a time.


Earn Some Extra Money:

Still finding yourself short of money? Getting a part-time job will help you earn more money. Whether it’s working at a local shop, restaurant or bar (even better if you can get some tips) or picking up some work tutoring other students, it’s easy to earn while you learn. Another way you can earn money whilst studying at university is being employed as a Student Ambassador. The advantage is you can pick shifts that you are available to work and the best thing is that it’s flexible, as it’s so easy to fit in around your studies – and going to all those unmissable SU parties! But most importantly, try to find a good work and study balance.


Make The Most Of Student Discounts:

There are lots of great discounts available and you should take advantage of that. But don’t use this as a reason to spend money on unnecessary things you don’t need. Unidays is free to use and has a huge range of discounts from all your favourite brands. Register with your student ID so you can start using those discounts on ASOS, Apple, Gym memberships and more! See the Unidays website for more information. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for deals and discounts on Student Beans too.



Get More From Your Student Loan:

For those students who need more financial support in order to cover living costs, it would be worth applying for a student maintenance loan. This is there to help you pay for day-to-day living expenses such as rent and bills. Without sounding like a broken record, be clever about how you spend your loan. Sure you can spend it on anything you like – but you need to be smart about it.

Get more from your money; stay interested while earning interest! It’s easy – when you receive each payment (which usually is at the beginning of each term) it could be an idea to put it in an instant access savings account. Don’t put all in at once however, keep enough back to cover emergencies or immediate costs. The hard work is done, all you have to do now is sit back and watch your money grow as it earns interest.


To summarise, our top tips for budgeting success is planning ahead, finding a spend balance, and being realistic. Make sure you allow yourself some money to go out and have fun – that’s also what university is about!



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