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How to Set Up and Maintain your Student Budget

The day has finally come! Money has been paid into your student bank account and you’re ready to start spending. 

But before you make your first purchase, it may be worth figuring out how to manage your student budget. According to the 2020 Student Money Survey, 71% of students worry about making ends meet while living on their student budget. 

Preparing your student budget in advance will reduce financial stress by ensuring you have enough money to live off by the end of term. 

What do you need to consider when setting up a student budget?


First, you need to figure out how much money you’re being paid – this can include your maintenance loan, bursaries, and money from a part-time job. 

Then you should roughly estimate how much money you’re going to spendOn average, students spend around £795/month (or £183/week) on living costs, with rent taking up the largest chunk of that spending. Therefore it would be beneficial to reserve your money for larger payments – such as rent, utility bills and transport – so you’re not left with a gaping hole in your pocket!

From the money you have left, calculate your weekly budget. Most will go towards essential expenses like food shopping and textbooks, but some money will be left over for activities including nights out and takeaways. 

So now that you have crafted your student budget, you need to monitor your spending regularly so that it matches your weekly allowance. 

Ways to keep track of your student budget: 

  • Checking your online banking account will simply give you a clear breakdown of your daily spending. 
  • Keeping a journal of your expenses will ensure you have a record on hand to immediately look back to. 
  • Creating a student budgeting spreadsheet can calculate which areas you’re overspending or underspending. 

If you manage to spend less than your weekly budget, congrats! This money can either roll over onto the next week, be saved, or be spent at a later date. 

If you spend more than your weekly budget, then it may be worth looking closely at your spending and setting some goals to help you spend less. 

Here are some tips that can help you maintain your student budget: 

TIP 1: Student discount. There are a variety of discounts available for students at a wide range of shops. Deals such as the 16-25 Railcard and Amazon Prime Student can save you a lot of money over time. 

TIP 2: Earn money. There are several ways of earning money whilst studying at university, such as a part-time job. But, if you don’t have a lot of time to spare then reselling textbooks and clothes you no longer need can give you a little bit of extra money to spend. 

TIP 3: Direct debit trick. As you can only spend what you have access to, the trick involves moving your money into a separate bank account (or a parent’s account) and setting up a recurring payment that transfers your weekly budget into your student account. This prevents you from spending over your allowance. 

TIP 4: Take out cash. When it comes to non-essential expenses (a night out in particular), taking out a set amount of cash can be an effective way to limit your spending. Nobody likes that dreaded moment the morning after a night-out when you check your bank account. Setting yourself a specific, physical limit can prevent you from losing money through reckless spending!

For most people, a student budget will be the first time they’re required to practise money management in their daily life. Understanding how to create and maintain a student budget that works for you will be a valuable skill to use in the future! 

Ceed is here to help students with money management  a life coach can provide advice on ways to improve your student budget. 

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