5 tips to help you manage money as a student

Whatever you do, don't bury your head in the sand, or hope that you'll find £100 down the back of the sofa (If only!).

Now this is a big one amongst many students and to be honest with you, most adults. How do you manage money so that you can have a good time and not end up living on baked beans for a month?

We haven’t got all the answers but you do! So we asked the LifeStart community, how do you manage to budget your time at uni? We got all sorts of responses and we decided to share them, to hopefully help you out. If you’ve got some tips that you’d like to share, get in touch and we’d be happy to feature you!

Keep a spreadsheet

Nearly everyone we spoke to said that they set themselves a budget. Whether that be per week or per month. May M. from University of St Marks and St Johns, said that she used a spreadsheet so that she was able to log all her spending. Each week she would track her outgoings for rent, transport, food and socialising into columns so she knew exactly where her money was going. Slightly less time consuming is using a money app. There are loads out there that you can even get from your bank which track how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on! As Katrina C. from London College of Communications explained, if you know how much your rent is a month, as well as weekly travel costs, you won’t get any nasty shocks when you try to withdraw money. She had two accounts, one that was for bills and rent and the other for her day to day spending money. It can be a chore, but if you know what cash you’re able to spend, you might even be able to save up for a holiday or as Julie G. from Falmouth University recommends for Christmas presents. 

Use coupons and student deals

Although everyday is not Christmas (unfortunately), Julie added that she always prioritised her spending money for the essentials. Recommending to “shop at local markets for groceries and your student union for stationary.” As a student there are lots of deals, offers, and discounts that you can find. From buying clothes to your weekly shop, take advantage of your student card and don’t be afraid to ask if places have a student discount – they don’t always advertise it!

Shop at the end of the day

Harry B. who’s at King’s College London joked that “a penchant for Aldi and a metal detector are all a good start.” Perhaps a tad tongue in cheek, he has a good point about choosing shops that are known for being a lot cheaper. Shopping around may take a bit longer, but often you can end up saving a lot of money. Also buying locally can sometimes pay off too rather than heading straight online. If you live near a local market, often at the end of the day they start to discount fruits and vegetables and most supermarkets have the equivalent when they discount things as products reach the ‘Best Before’ date. Pro (Fun) Tip: look up coupon videos on Youtube. They’re really funny to watch.

Get a part-time job

So far we’ve talked about managing the money that you have, maybe from your parents, or student finance. But of course, a great way to worry less about cash is to go out and make some! Lots of students ‘work work work work work’ alongside their studies so that they have the luxury of a little extra spending money, or can top up where student finance runs short. However, be aware as Rob H. at Canterbury University warns “I worked through my lectures, potentially at the expense of my degree, but I never struggled for money at uni.” This is a balancing act that can take time to master. Your studies are just as important as the experience you get from working, so try and make sure that you know how to balance the two and you can be accomplished in both. We’ve written another blog post on how you can market part-time jobs to make your CV look great.

Get a summer job

As we’ve spoken about in other blogs It can be “quite hard to have balance with work, studies and life,” as Katrina says, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Other students choose to undertake internships or work over summer when they have more time and can save for the upcoming year. Student Lifestart is always here to try and help you out with advice and opportunities. You can watch our series on internships HERE if you’re interested in that option too. 

There are lots of ways to make sure that you don’t overspend whilst at university. Whatever way you choose we’d love to hear about it! Whatever you do, don’t bury your head in the sand, or hope that you’ll find £100 down the back of the sofa (If only!). As much as we all wish that money doesn’t matter, it does – So make sure you know your own situation and follow a few of our tips to make life that little bit easier.

Want to share your tips and tricks and be featured in one of our future blog posts? Do so here!