Budgeting

Student Perks

Student discounts can cut all sorts of costs, from stationery to cinema tickets. Make sure you don't miss out. Remember that you can get some discounts you might not expect: for example, the 16-25 Railcard is available to over-25s who are in full-time education and gets you a third off rail tickets.

For additional savings, you can also buy an NUS Extra card which offers some extra discounts. You can get more details on the NUS site to help decide if this is for you.

The Student Union also offers some opportunities to save cash: many offer low-cost services like hairdressing exclusively for students.

Students can also get cheap deals on software like Microsoft Office: the top-price version of Office costs over £400, but is less than £40 for students.

You can also find plenty of discounts on sites like TopTable, VoucherCodes and Student Beans - especially useful for those occasional treats.

Living on a Budget

Sometimes it seems like there are too many costs to have any chance of balancing them. Remember you can often get away with not paying for things at all:

  • People on a low income can get help with health costs, including prescriptions, opticians' fees and dental costs
  • You can pick up books second hand from local shops, or on Amazon. It's also worth talking to people doing your course in the year above you, who may have books they are no longer using. Campus notice boards and university email lists can also help you find low-cost books.
  • Make sure you know what photocopying facilities are available and how much they cost. Remember that there are legal limits to how much of a book you can copy!
  • Make the most of the benefits of a student bank account - interest-free overdrafts, for example, can help you avoid expensive payday loans.

Planning Ahead

  • Don't just budget one week at a time: look ahead to the whole year to make sure you're not caught out by things like Christmas, holiday expenses or bills that are due every three months. If you receive student support, the way this is paid may be different from income you've had before, like benefits or wages. You'll need a longer term view to ensure your money lasts over a term and the year.
  • Try to put some money aside (for example, in a savings account) in case of emergencies. If you keep it separate, you know you don't have to worry about it.
  • Your student finance might change through the year: the third term payment may be slightly larger to help through the summer break. Check your payment schedule so you know what's coming in when.
  • You may find yourself switching between student support and benefits, so be prepared for your income to fluctuate.

Getting Help

  • If you're worried about debt and budgeting, make sure you seek advice from a trained financial advisor through either the university Student Services department or your Students' Union
  • If you're in real trouble and are worried you might have to leave your course, you might be able to get help from the Access to Learning Fund. See the Student Finance section for more details.
  • Links to other sources of help