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Get started: How to live on a student budget to manage money when you’re studying

Get started: How to live on a student budget to manage money when you’re studying, with Money Bites
Balancing student budget life with making the most of our student discounts.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Uni students can be under financial pressure as they have to balance work and studying.
  • These money do’s and don’ts will help you manage money on a limited budget.
  • Here’s how to live on a student budget to manage money when you’re studying, with these money do’s and don’ts.

Have you ever worried about money as a student?

Getting to university and into your preferred study course is a great feeling. But that feeling is quickly replaced for many students, with worry about how you’ll pay your bills.

It can be difficult to know how to live on a student budget. 

Studying at university full-time limits your ability to earn an income, which is why finances are a common concern for students. Many students experience financial stress, particularly in their first year of study, which can impact their mental health.

Managing money when you’re studying takes prior planning as we’re not good at estimating our monthly spending. You have a limited amount of money to draw on during your studies that you need to make the most of. Even if you’ve never made a budget before, these money do’s and don’ts will help you manage money on a restricted budget.


Here’s how to live on a student budget to manage money when you’re studying: 


1. DO know how much money you need each month

When you’re learning how to budget, a crucial step is to know how much it costs to be you. That includes calculating your expenses on needs like rent and wants like a new coat you don’t need. You can then see whether it’s possible to save money each month for meeting your financial goals.


2. DON’T ignore your current spending habits

Many of us start a budget without taking into our current spending habits. You’re unlikely to change all your habits overnight. Look through your bank statements in the past 30 days to see where your money is going.


3. DO budget ahead for your bills

One of the worst feelings is getting a bill you didn’t expect. Some bills like the electricity bill and council tax typically arrive every 3 months. Estimate how much you’re likely to be paying each quarter and budget for these bills each month so that you can quickly pay the bill when it arrives.


4. DON’T ignore your student discount

People know that students have less money to spend, and they build this into pricing. Students can get a discount on every from public transport to museum admission. There are also special student discount schemes which could save you money on everything from clothes to a new laptop for uni.


5. DO try share house living

Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses in your budget. A major benefit of share house living is you’ll cut your household bills in half, including rent and utility bills. There are many pros and cons of share house life, so look at whether shared accommodation could be right for you.


6. DON’T waste money on takeaways

Students have a reputation for eating late-night takeaways. Instead, try saving money by cooking food at home and planning your meals ahead of time. You can also find ways to save money on your grocery bill, including trying different supermarkets to get a bargain.


7. DO apply for scholarships and bursaries

Many universities offer financial help to support their students. You could access bursaries or support payments if you’re experiencing financial difficulties. You could also check what scholarships are available to support your living costs during the degree or help pay for tuition.


8. DON’T buy expensive textbooks

University lecturers often provide required reading lists with multiple expensive textbooks on them. Before you rush to the university bookshop, see whether the library has a copy already. You can borrow this copy at no cost or buy a second-hand version to save money.


9. DO try a budget app to monitor your spending

While you may set a budget with the best of intentions, you still need to monitor your spending. A budget app could be helpful to manage your money on the go, with multiple options available.


10. DON’T forget about free services on campus

A hidden secret at many university campuses is the number of free services on offer. Whether it’s free fitness classes like yoga, social events with free food handed out by students clubs or the student health service, check out the free services that your campus has on offer.

Studying at uni can be one of the best times of your life.

With these money do’s and don’ts, we want to show more students how to live on a student budget without feeling like they’re on a restrictive diet. Take the time to learn about budgeting now so that you emerge from uni with good memories and money in the bank.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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