How You Can (Actually) Manage Your Money as a Student at University and Beyond With a Budget

When you're off to university, there are probably three main things on your mind:

  1. Your freedom and independence away from the 'rents

  2. Instalments of (not so) free money

  3. Opportunity to live your best life

Of course, there are plenty of other things you're also thinking about, but we're guessing that these are, at least, in the top three.

In this post, we will be covering the following topics:

- How to set (and stick to) a budget

- The benefits of having a budget

- How to make extra money

- Making the most of your student status

Save the Student reports that students spend an average of £795 every month, and while this number will depend on several factors, like:

- Commuting

- Accommodation,

-Your work situation

- The Money Sinkers (aka Social life)

The principle remains the same; you should know how much you spend monthly on your maintenance (aka your outgoings).

Why a Budget is Necessary?

No one likes being broke. And though a budget may seem tedious, you need one. Why? Well, I can ask that. If you want to be in charge of your money, instead of it being the other way around, you need to get a handle on your finances.

We know managing money or planning your expenses seems boring, but if you want to thrive financially (with your student finances) instead of struggling to make ends meet without a plan, then a budget is your best bet at success.

Importance of Budgeting at University

I don't want to be too blunt, but you need a budget when you're at university. If you don't want to find yourself suddenly needing to dip into your overdraft or borrowing from friends without knowing when you'll pay them back, then it's best to plan while you're ahead.

As the unofficial mark of adulthood, when you transition from teenager to adult, it's easy to get caught up in the moment. While it's a time of fun, newness, and adventure, you also need to be on top of your finances or you may find yourself running into some trouble.

How to Set a Budget For Yourself

So if you're probably thinking a budget isn't necessary for you since you're a student. Or maybe you think that because you are getting your student loan, that things will take care of themselves.

But before getting into the nuts and bolts of budgeting setting, you need to know the reason why. A budget isn't a way of stripping you of all the fun you're

Setting up your budget for the first time appears daunting at first, but there are three basic aspects. The budgeting purpose is to plan, control, and track how much money you are spending and savings.

Benefits of Budgeting Your Money

Yes, talking about money may be a bit too serious when you're about to start living your best life, and here are 5 benefits of keeping to a budget:

  1. Keeps you from overspending

  2. Gives you a realistic and accurate view of where your money goes

  3. Keeps you in control of your money

  4. Exposes your relationship with money

  5. Helps you to actually save

A Typical Student Budget

According to the National Student Money survey by Save the Student, this is what they found out in their survey. Below are the figures from 2018 and 2020.



I know, there's a lot to take in here. Bear with me, there are 2 main things I want you to focus on.

  1. In 2018, the average rent was around £408, now it's increased to £418. If we can learn anything from this, it is that the cost of living is typically on an increase.

  2. After rent, the second-highest cost is groceries. Though your groceries may not be as little as £100 per month, you know where most of your money is o likely to go.

If You Don't Have Enough Money

After taking a look at your finances (from your trusted budget), you may notice a shortage. Yes, of money. Perhaps there isn't enough to cover your essentials, even with money from the bank of mum and dad. Or maybe your maintenance loan just doesn't cut it.

You, my friend, may need a part-time job.

You're not alone in this. In fact, many students have to pick up extra work during their uni years for the extra upkeep, but there are a few ways to go about earning another stream of income. A few, known ways of going about this is:

  1. Paid internships

  2. Placement year (finding a paid one)

  3. Retail or hospitality jobs

  4. Tutoring

  5. Nannying/Babysitting

Get Those Students Deals

If you know your place as a student, you'll know there are perks available to you. There are deals in store for you from savings on clothes or discounts on your favourite restaurants.

Mind you though, some of these perks are sneaky and can put you in a cash deficit if you're not careful. My advice would be to be sure of what you're getting into and read through the small print too.

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