For many of us univeristy is our first big step into being an independent adult. Partially living by ourselves and partly still living with our parents. This middle ground is kind of one of the reasons I chose to go to uni.

But with this new step, comes other adulting responsibilities. Such as the likes of money and

how to budget as a university student

Some of us might have had weekend jobs while in school and/or college but for the most part, there is no real NEED for budgeting. But with maintenance loans in and quite often barely covering the costs of living, learning to budget is going to be a key skill.

However, I do have a quick disclaimer. I'm not a perfect budgeter. I don't have a spreadsheet or even a page in my bullet journal, so what I've got for you today is just some tips and tricks that might help you save money without stressing over a spreadsheet every month.

The student bank account

With being a university student now I'm sure you've had your look at all the student bank accounts out there. And if you haven't, have a look and find the one that will best work for you. So with that my first tip is to keep your student bank account just for your maintenance loan and everything uni. The idea behind this is that you only spend the money on this card for university-related stuff and if you have other cards with the likes of birthday money on it use that one when you want to treat yourself.

The weekly shop

These days most debit cards are contactless as long as your shopping is under £30. This you can use to your advantage when budgeting since if you chose to only use the card the contactless way then you always have a limit of £30 when doing things like the weekly food shop. For me at least this has meant I don't go overboard when shopping.

You can also walk to the shops by yourself, then you can only buy as much as you can carry. Limiting to one basket really does make sure you don't spend too much each week.

Meal plan

Making a meal plan each week will then give you a base to make a shopping list out of. And then you'll also be able to buy just the right amount of stuff so you won't waste money or food.

Shopping lists

Link to the one before, make a shopping list and STICK TO IT!


Even if it's an ebook version check out your universities library for textbooks and reading material. This will save you a lot of cash in the long run, since books can be super expensive.

You can also check with past students to see if they can sell you their old books for a percentage of the original price.


One thing students are notorious for is drinking, and though it's not for me I know many who fit the typical student stereotype. However, drinks on a night out can be expensive so if you're going to drink maybe the best time is at pres.

Night outs

Some people go out every week and some like me have never been out once, but if you are trying to save money but also want to go out clubbing then it might be a good idea to check the club nights for that semester so you can work around you think you and your friends might enjoy the most.

Treat yourself only at the biggest of achievements

It can be easy to find ways in which you want to treat yourself. Made it through the first week, treat yourself. Got an assignment in on time, treat yourself. Ate three meals a day, treat yourself. It can be great to treat yourself now and again but if you find an excuse at every opportunity to buy yourself new stuff then your bank account isn't going to love you. So instead treat yourself after you've made it through the whole semester, or competed for all your assignments. Still treating yourself but at bigger steps that happen less often.

Want something make a wishlist

Many times I've found myself scrolling online stores while procrastinating from working on assignments. Not the best thing to do. And it can be easy to want to buy all those things straight away, definitely, if you're finding every excuse to treat yourself, so instead I suggest a wishlist. Then you'll also have things to ask for when it comes to Christmas and birthdays because it can't just be me that when those times of the year come around my mind always goes blank, all while saving your student loan for everyday necessities.

At the end of the day, tracking how much you are spending can help you stay on track so you can spend your money on more than just accommodation, food and drinks.

I know people who have been able to go on holiday with their student loans and it's all down to budgeting and not spending too recklessly. So we should all try and make life as a student easier for ourselves.

Have you got any tips for when it comes to budgeting?

- Sophie

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