Living on a student budget

There’s a lot to pay for at university – rent, bills, food, books, nights out – Here’s how some of our students manage their money.

It’s natural that money is something you’ll want to feel comfortable with before you head to university. Luckily there are loads of options available that can help make it a little easier, like getting a part time job, applying for funding or speaking to our support team.


I currently work as a Student Ambassador within different university departments, such as student engagement, marketing, education liaison and admissions. I also receive support through National Scholarship Programme, which helps with tuition-related costs such as books and transport.


I've been working since I started A-levels, and I've sometimes had extra jobs alongside that to help out more. Money management is a skill you’ll learn at university with experience; you'll realise you can't eat takeaways every day and still have money left over for rent! You’ll have nothing to worry about if you’re sensible, find a part time job and ask for support when you need it.


Don’t be afraid to go to small independent shops for things like fruit and veg; a bag of potatoes might cost £1 there, whereas Tesco might charge £3. These savings add up. Another good tip is to get a separate savings account linked to your bank account. Keep the majority of money in there and give yourself a certain amount of pocket money each week. Don’t blow all of your money straight away on a new set of clothes or a brand new mobile phone!

Each month Thomas spends:

Travel: £120
Food: £100
Entertainment: £200
Rent: £400
Bills: £100
Toiletries: £30


During all these years in London I’ve been working in various places to pay my bills, although my studies were paid by Student Finance. It was hard because I needed to study and work full time throughout the year, but I am very happy for this experience because I learnt a lot.


The National Scholarship Programme was an initiative introduced by the Higher Education Funding Council in 2012 for new undergraduate students. It carried on until the academic year of 2014-15, which is the year I began university. This programme supported students from low income backgrounds who met their university entry offers by giving grants to support their life at university. Though the programme has now finished, there are loads of other scholarships available to students. It is worth doing some research because usually no one will just tell you that you are eligible for a scholarship, you have to find out about them and make an application yourself.