Student Blog Squad

How to live on a Student Budget

Hi, I’m Will and in this blog, I’m going to be talking about how you can enjoy university life whilst on a student budget. I’ll be sharing with you my personal experiences and top tips that I have found useful during my time at university.

piles of pound coins
One of the biggest changes in transitioning from living at home to living independently at university is becoming financially independent. Receiving a student loan and managing money can be exciting yet daunting. It is important to understand how to manage your money and budget it for the duration of your course. Students receive three loans per year; one in each semester meaning each loan has to last you for a couple months. The amount of money you receive is based on a variety of factors including your parent’s income and whether they live together. It’s useful to check the Student Finance website for specific information on this as it does change.  Learning to budget doesn't have to be a scary prospect. It simply requires setting out what you NEED to spend money on and what you want to. You should be able have enough money for accommodation, food, university equipment/books and still have a fair amount leftover to do things that you enjoy. 

Bank account

One of the first things you should try to do when you become a student is set up a student bank account. I would personally recommend signing up with a bank that has other perks to offer you too. For example, some banks offer a reasonable overdraft as well things like a student railcard. The railcard gives you a 25% discount on all rail fares in Britain and if you like travelling to different places, you will save lots of money with this. The overdraft can give you a boost if you are short on money as well. It shouldn’t be treated as free money as it will need to be paid back once you finish university (make sure to read the small print when applying) but it does offer support if needed. Make sure to research the best options for you before setting up an account.


The thing you will buy most regularly is food so finding ways of cutting costs here is a great way to ease your money worries. There are a couple of low-cost supermarkets not too far away from the student areas in Leeds which I would highly recommend for affordable food. They are situated in Burley and Meanwood. I would advise doing a weekly shop here and get all the main bits and then there are plenty of smaller shops around both campuses and accommodations to stock up on the little things.

University supplies

I have found September to be an expensive month. It will be exciting seeing your first student loan in your bank account, but this doesn’t mean you can spend it extravagantly without consequences. If you do, you will certainly feel the repercussions of this in December. At the start of each year, your lecturers will recommend certain books that you will need throughout the modules. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to splash out. You will find that many resources will be online on the Beckett library portal and others will be on the shelves at either the City or Headingley campuses. If they aren't available, there are plenty of second hand student stores in Leeds which can offer much cheaper prices than buying brand new. Other options for university resources include looking on Facebook Marketplace and other online selling sites.

Social life

Another very useful tip for new students is how to save money whilst out and about. While your social life is an integral part of student life, it can often be quite expensive. However, you can certainly save money by only drinking at pre drinks - eliminating the costs of expensive drinks in clubs/bars. Walking to the shops or to meet friends during the day is a great way to save money too. Be aware that takeaways can also add up, and although the temptation may be strong, remember your Mum's favourite saying… “WE HAVE FOOD AT HOME!”.

These are just a few ways that you can save money with your newfound financial independence. If you follow these methods, you should find yourself in good stead to cope with student life. Don’t be afraid to speak to financial advice teams within the university as well if you’re anxious about money. They can help to get you back on track. If your money is managed wisely, your university experience will be enhanced massively! 


Hi! I'm Will and I study International Relations and Global Development at Leeds Beckett. I'm in my second year, currently on an international exchange at Western Sydney University. I'm passionate about travelling, running and music.

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