Managing your finances at university - Part Two

Updated on 29 March 2011 | 1 Comment

How to make a budget at university -- and how to stick to it!

So, you know exactly what your income at university will be after reading Part One of this series on Managing Your Finances At University.

But what about your spending? How much do most students spend at university? And how do you draw up a budget anyway?


It will vary from place to place and person to person, but here’s a breakdown of how the average student spends his/her money, according to the National Union of Students (NUS) and HSBC:


Expected Weekly Spend

Actual Spend







Field trips









Other bills






Daily/routine travel






As you can see, students underestimated their spending by nearly £20 a week. That’s almost £1,500 over the term of a three-year course. So, when you are calculating your budget, do try to cut yourself a bit of slack if you can.

Related how-to guide

Set a budget and stick to it

Learn how to successfully squeeze your budget.


In a nutshell, budgeting is adding up your income and deducting your expenses. It helps if you work out a budget for the whole year and another one on a monthly (or even weekly) basis. To do a monthly or weekly budget, you set aside money for food, travel, entertainment and so on. You also break down your big annual expenses, such as holidays and car maintenance, into manageable amounts. Hence, you can save up for your big purchases.

An easy way to do this is to use our free online banking tool. It enables you to categorise all your transactions from different bank accounts and credit cards so you know exactly what you're spending your money on throughout the month, using a single log-in. Find out more

The Golden Rule

The golden rule of student budgeting is: the less you owe at the end of your boozing days, the quicker you'll be able to start saving and investing, getting on the property ladder, and buying things with your own money. Trust me, it's the route to a happy life!


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