From food bills, to course materials and transport, here are some tips on how to budget and save money as a student.
your student loan
any grants, bursaries, sponsorships or scholarships you're eligible for
salary from a part-time job, if you have one
money from parents, if they'll be contributing
Your outgoings may include:
rent for accommodation
household bills, such as gas and electricity, water and broadband
It’s worth taking expensive periods, like Christmas and holidays, into account as well as one-off purchases, such as a laptop. Make sure to include some money for the occasional treat too, and anything you want to save in your budget.
Your student loan is usually paid into your bank account at the start of each term (or monthly in Scotland). But remember, that money needs to last – so think about your spending over the longer term. Looking for ways to reduce your outgoings and save money can help keep your budget on track.
Find out what your spending personality is so that you can stay on top of your outgoings.
buy food in bulk and batch cook meals, then freeze what you don’t use so nothing goes to waste
instead of just food shopping for yourself, see if you can do a group shop with your housemates
look for yellow-sticker reduced items at the supermarket
make packed lunches instead of going to the campus canteen every lunchtime
Explore: How to save money at the supermarket
head to the university library to see if you can borrow the book you need, but avoid late fees if you’re taking the book out
if you need to buy a book, many universities have second-hand book sales
find out what your halls or private accommodation has available
if you have your own printer, print in black and white and on both sides of the page to save on ink/paper
use reputable software for cloud storage
save a third on rail fares with the 16-25 Railcard
save a third on standard and fully flexible coach fares with National Express Young Persons Coachcard
get 30% off travel in London with the 18+ Student Oyster Photocard (you must live at a London address in term-time to be eligible)
Remember to make the most of any student discounts available and TOTUM, the new name for NUS extra.
Opening a student bank account can help you to manage your finances. You’ll be able to set up Direct Debits for your bills, and keep an eye on your spending.
If you use mobile banking, you can check your balance on the go and receive notifications if your balance dips below a certain amount.
If you’re an HSBC customer, you can also use Balance After Bills, in the HSBC Mobile Banking app on compatible devices.
It shows you how much you could have left, once your bills (scheduled Direct Debits and standing orders) have been paid.
Most banks offer student bank accounts, which may include an overdraft. It’s worth checking what happens if you go over your overdraft limit, and if there is a charge.
Some student bank accounts also come with a credit card that can help pay for necessary expenses or to give you protection on big-ticket items, but be careful not to overspend. Anything you buy on a credit card will need to be repaid.