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.
Undergraduate student finance
Find the latest finance 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.
We asked our student community to share their thoughts on life in Manchester, from budgeting top tips to the typical weekly food shop.
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.
Further advice on managing money
Find out more about how to manage your money while at university.
Living Cost Support Fund
This fund awards small grants and loans to students facing financial hardship. Applications can be made all year round.