Budgeting at university

There is so much advice on budgeting and online resources that claim to be *the* answer to managing your money.

When you start university, juggling all the new demands on your money can feel overwhelming, and everyone will have a different experience of managing things like the weekly food shop, rent, bills and the freedom to spend your money your way.

The important thing to remember is, as long as you’re aware of what you need to spend, and how much you have to spend on it, you will already be well on the path to finding a way of budgeting that works for you.

PGT student finance

Postgraduate funding

Find the latest funding information for students from the UK, the EU and around the world.

Here are our top ten tips on how to budget:

1. Make a plan

Try drawing up your own budget before you come to university, using our information on cost of living and the resources provided.

2. Use cash over card

Take out your budgeted cash at the beginning of the week and don't use your card again that week.

3. Be informed

Understand how much money/loan you’re entitled to and request what is necessary.

4. Boost your income

Look for part-time work in Manchester to top up your bank balance.

5. Restrict shopping to weekly

Do one big shop each week rather than multiple smaller shops. 

6. Bulk buy

Buy items you can in bulk as they tend to be cheaper this way.

7. Make sure you need it before purchasing

Wait until your course begins to buy any expensive textbooks to ensure that you definitely need to spend money on this before you splash out. Keep an eye out for second-hand books (if relevant) as these are usually cheaper than buying new.

8. Be more energy-efficient

If you are in a private tenancy, reduce your bills by opting to save energy around the house.

9. Pre-drink on night's out

If you’re going out, have a drink beforehand or at a cheaper place before the actual event to save money.

10. Bring your own lunch

Make packed lunches instead of eating out when you’re in lectures/seminars all day. This way you won't be tempted to spend extra money you hadn't budgeted for that week. 

Additional resources

Here are some extra resources that we’ve found are useful for our students around budgeting:

  • Money Saving Expert – Martin Lewis has put together a page of resources to help students manage and budget their money.
  • Microsoft Office 365 for students – You can download the full Office suite if you're a Manchester taught student. 
  • Save the student – This guide from Save the Student is full of tips to save, make and manage money.
  • Fudget – Fudget is a simple and fast alternative to complex budget planner/personal finance apps.