Blog post

How to budget
wisely as a student

For many students, university is their first experience of being financially independent. It can be challenging when learning how to navigate the world of finance. However, following a clear structure can make things easier to manage your money.

Here are five things to consider about looking after your money at university.

By Izzy Moxham-Mead - 2 March 2023

1) List all your incomings

First, it is critical to note all your incomings. As a student, these may be coming through multiple income streams, for example:

2) Do the maths

Next, it’s time to do the maths. Calculate your total incomings for each month. Remember, scholarships and your maintenance loan may be spilt into different instalments (and in different amounts) throughout the academic year. Therefore, it is essential to factor this into your calculations sensibly.

Girl concentrating using a laptop

3) Understand how much you spend

To truly understand your spending habits, look at past accounts. Perhaps, evaluate your spending from the past six months for an accurate and up-to-date perspective. Divide your outgoings into clear categories. Remember to include both your fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are less likely to regularly change, such as your rent or phone bills. Alternatively, variable expenses could alter monthly and include transport or nights out. Consider using banking apps that automatically categorize your outgoings. For example, Monzo or Starling Bank can show your daily average and the trends on your spending.

4) Calculate your budgets

Now you have calculated both your outgoings and incomings, it’s time to create a personalised budget. Consider how much you’ve got left to spend after your fixed expenses. Then, evaluate which non-essential expenses you can easily reduce. For example, regular takeaway meals or coffees. This budget can then inform financial insight for a week, month or term, whatever timescale is best suited to your individual circumstances.

Hands hold a porcelain piggy bank on a table

5) Put your budget to work

Remember to regularly evaluate your budget. This is especially important as a student, as your finances may regularly fluctuate. Pick a date to track your budget every month. This could be at the start of the month, or alternatively on your fixed payday. Compare your actual expenses and income against your budget. Are you spending more or earning less than expected? Alter your plan accordingly to ensure you continue to budget wisely.

Those are my tips on how to sensibly manage your money as a student. Everyone has their own financial approaches with different priorities and ways of living, so you may find another method which works better for you. Just remember to aim to keep your outgoings lower than your incomings, and make smart financial choices!

About the author

Isabella Moxham Mead wears cats eye style eye liner and has long curly brown hair.

Izzy Moxham-Mead
Digital Marketing Student

I'm currently a Marketing (Digital) student at the University of Derby. I work as a Marketing Representative and a Social Media Assistant alongside my course. This has helped me gain fantastic, relevant work experience whilst studying at the University.