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Budget Management and Money Saving Tips for Students

Updated: Jan 16

Are you a university student struggling to manage your budget? Do you need money saving tips to avoid constantly worrying about your finances? Are you wondering how you are going to pay for your tuition, rent, and other expenses?

Money Saving Tips for University Students Living On or Off Campus: How to Manage your Budget and Avoid Debt

Every student learns how to budget at uni, and most students struggle with budget management at first. So you are not alone! But with a better understanding, some careful planning, and our money saving tips, you can avoid debt and make the most of your student loans and financial management skills.

Improving your understanding of budget management is the first step to taking control of your student finances. You need to know how much money you have coming in and going out each month. This includes your student loans, scholarships, or bursaries you may receive, and your living expenses.

Once you have a clear picture of your income and expenditure, you can create a budget and plan your expenses each month.

Understanding Budget Management

One of the first steps for students is to understand what is essential versus non-essential expenses and learn how to prioritize.

Examples of Essential Student Expenses :

  • Rent

  • Electricity

  • Water

  • Wi-Fi

  • Mobile Phone

  • Transport

  • Course materials

  • Food

  • Insurance

Examples of Non-Essential Student Expenses :

  • Socialising: cinema, concerts, clubbing

  • Eating out and takeaways

  • Sports & Gym membership

  • Starbucks

  • TV subscription services (Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime, etc)

  • Car

  • New clothes or shoes

  • Beauty treatments

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Understanding Student Finance

Understanding student finance is crucial to make the most of your money and avoid debt. In this section, we'll cover the basics of student finance, including student loans, scholarships, bursaries, and working while studying.

Decoding Student Loans

Student loans are a common way of financing your studies. The UK government offers a student loan to cover tuition fees and living costs to UK residents.

The amount you can borrow depends on your household income, where you live, and the course you're studying. This is not free money! You WILL have to pay back the loan - with interest - once you start your career after graduating, and you earn a salary above a certain threshold.

You may be able to request a Tuition Fee Loan and help with living costs if you are from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Once the university has set the tuition fee, the student loan is paid directly to the university, and you then have to pay it back.

Scholarships, Bursaries and Hardship Funds

Scholarships, bursaries, and hardship funds are means of additional financial support for students.

Scholarships are usually awarded based on academic merit. Bursaries are given to students with financial need. And Hardship funds are available to students who are experiencing financial difficulties.


Working While Studying

Working part-time while studying is a typical way to supplement your income. It can also help you gain valuable work experience and develop new skills – great for your CV!

However, it's important to strike a balance between working and studying. When looking for a part-time job, look first at your class schedule and then work out the days and times you would be available to work.

If you are an international student, check your student visa restrictions first and research your tax and social security obligations.


Opening a Student Bank Account

Opening a student bank account is crucial to manage your finances. Many banks offer student accounts with benefits such as interest-free overdrafts and freebies like Amazon vouchers. Compare the different accounts and choose one that suits your needs – not the free stuff they’re offering!

When applying for a student account, you'll need to provide proof of your student status. This could include your acceptance letter or student ID.

Banks will also check your credit score, so it's important to maintain a good credit history. We go into more detail on this in our book From High School to Uni – get your copy now!

By understanding student finance, you can make informed decisions about your money and avoid debt. Whether you're taking out a student loan, applying for scholarships, or working part-time, it's important to plan your budget carefully and seek advice if you need it.

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Budgeting and Saving Tips for University Students

As a university student, budgeting and saving money is essential to ensure that you don't end up in debt, or at least keep your student debt manageable.

Here are some tips to help you manage your finances and save money.



Creating a Student Budget

The first step to managing your finances is to create a student budget. This will help you keep track of your income and outgoings, and ensure that you don't overspend. Download the interactive student budget calculator in our Pre-Uni and Ultimate Members Bundles to estimate your monthly expenses.

Living Off Campus

Living off campus and sharing a flat or house with other students is one way to save on accommodation costs. However, you need to factor in other expenses such as transportation costs and utility bills. Look for affordable accommodation options that are close to your university or have good transport links.


Make the Most of Student Discounts

Many retailers and service providers offer student discounts, so make sure you take advantage of them.

Always ask if there's a student discount available before making a purchase. Look for deals and vouchers on websites such as Totum, UniDays or StudentBeans for student discounts to save money on shopping.

Dealing with Debt

If you find you are getting into debt, it's important to seek help and set up a repayment plan to help reduce your debt as soon as possible. Talk to your bank or credit card provider and ask for advice on how to manage your debt problem.

Strategies for saving money


Saving money is an essential part of budgeting. It allows you to build an emergency fund, save for future expenses, and work towards your financial goals.

Here are some strategies to help you save money:


  1. Automate your savings: Set up automatic transfers from your current account to a savings account each month. This will ensure that you are consistently saving money without even thinking about it. Even a minimum monthly amount will start to add up.

  2. Cut back on unnecessary expenses: Review your budget and identify areas where you can reduce spending. This could include cancelling unnecessary subscriptions, cut back on eating out, or finding ways to save on utilities.

  3. Shop smart: Look for ways to save money when shopping for food, clothes, or household items. Compare prices, use coupons and discounts, and consider buying in bulk, if you have the space, to save money in the long run.

  4. Set savings goals: Instead of saving money aimlessly, set specific savings goals.


This will help you stay motivated and focused on your saving efforts. Whether it's saving for a holiday, new tech equipment or a car, having a goal in mind makes saving more purposeful.


Key Takeaways

  • Understanding your finances is the first step to taking control of your finances.

  • Budget management and following money saving tips can help you avoid debt and optimise your student loan.

  • Living off campus can be a great way to save money, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

For more information on Budget Management, head over to our FAQs.

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