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How to budget and save money while studying in the UK

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

International students often find themselves struggling to make ends meet while studying in the UK. There are a few key things that you can do to help manage your finances and save money.

Here are 10 tips:

  1. Track your spending: It’s easy to let your spending get out of control when you’re on a student budget. Keep track of all your expenses for a month, then figure out where you can cut back.
  2. Make a budget: Once you know where your money is going, it’s time to make a budget. Decide how much you need to spend on essential expenses like rent and food, and how much you can afford to save each month.
  3. Start saving: Even if you only have a little bit of extra money each month, it’s important to start saving for your future. Put some money into a savings account so you have something to fall back on in case of an emergency.
  4. Get a part-time job: If you’re struggling to make ends meet, consider getting a part-time job. This can help you cover your expenses and start saving for your future.
  5. Live like a student: It’s important to remember that you’re on a student budget. That means you might have to live like a student for a while. Consider moving into a cheaper apartment or eating out less often.
  6. Avoid debt: It’s easy to get into debt when you’re a student. Avoid using credit cards and taking out loans if possible. If you do need to borrow money, make sure you can afford to repay it.
  7. Make your money work for you: There are lots of ways to make your money work for you. Invest in a good quality backpack or suitcase so you can save on travel costs. Look for deals on textbooks and other course materials. And don’t forget to claim any discounts or benefits you’re entitled to as a student.
  8. Be prepared for emergencies: No matter how well you budget, there will always be unexpected expenses. Make sure you have some savings set aside for emergencies like car repairs or medical bills.
  9. Stay motivated: It can be tough to stick to a budget, but it’s important to stay motivated. Remember why you’re doing it and keep your long-term goals in mind.
  10. Get help if you need it: If you’re struggling to manage your finances, get help from a financial advisor or student services department at your school. They can offer advice and support to help you get on track.

5 reasons why is it important to budget

A lot of people think that budgeting is something that only applies to those who are struggling financially. However, the truth is that everyone can benefit from creating and following a budget, regardless of their financial situation. There are many reasons why this is the case, but here are five of the most important ones.

  1. It keeps you mindful of your spending:

When you budget, you have to keep track of every single penny that you spend. This can be eye-opening for some people, as they may not realise how much money they are actually spending on things like coffee or nights out. Seeing your spending patterns in black and white can help you to cut back on unnecessary expenses.

  1. It helps you save money:

If you have a specific goal in mind, such as saving for a down payment on a house or a new car, budgeting can help you reach that goal faster. By knowing exactly where your money is going each month, you can make adjustments to your spending so that more of it goes towards your savings.

  1. It keeps you organised:

Budgeting requires you to keep track of a lot of different information, such as your income, your expenses, and your savings goals. This can be helpful in other areas of your life as well, as it can teach you to be more organised and efficient.

  1. It helps you avoid debt:

One of the best things about budgeting is that it can help you avoid getting into debt. If you know how much money you have coming in and going out each month, it’s easier to stay within your means and avoid using credit cards or taking out loans.

  1. It gives you peace of mind:

Finally, budgeting can help to give you peace of mind. When you’re in control of your finances, it’s easier to relax and enjoy your life. You don’t have to worry about money as much, and you can sleep better at night knowing that you’re on top of your finances.

As you can see, there are many good reasons to budget. If you’re not currently doing so, it’s definitely something to consider. It can make a big difference in your financial situation and your overall well-being.

4 ways you can save money on food

As a student, you are probably always on the lookout for ways to save money. Food is one of the necessary expenses that can add up quickly, so finding ways to cut down on your food budget can be a great way to save some money. Here are four analysed ways you can save money on food as a student:

  1. Meal plan and cook at home: This is probably the most obvious way to save money on food as a student. By cooking your meals at home, you will not only save money on groceries, but also on eating out. Meal planning can help you to stay organised and make sure that you are cooking healthy meals that fit your budget.
  2. Shop at discount grocery stores: Another great way to save money on groceries as a student is to shop at discount grocery stores. These stores often sell food that is past its expiration date or close to it, but is still perfectly safe to eat. This can be a great way to get your hands on some cheap food.
  3. Buy in bulk: Buying food in bulk can be a great way to save money, especially if you are buying non-perishable items like canned goods or dry goods. This can help you to stock up your pantry and have food on hand when you need it, without having to pay full price for it.
  4. Take advantage of coupons and deals: Finally, another great way to save money on food as a student is to take advantage of coupons and deals. Many stores offer discounts for students, so be sure to ask about any deals that might be available. You can also find coupons online or in newspapers and use them to get discounts on your groceries. By using these four tips, you can save money on food as a student without having to sacrifice your eating habits. So start saving today!

7 other ways to save money as a University student

Here are a few more ideas:

Get a student discount card:

This can help you save on entertainment, travel, and other expenses. There are a variety of student discount cards available, so do some research to find the one that offers the best deals for what you need.

Cut back on alcohol:

We all know that university and drinking go hand-in-hand, but you can save a lot of money by cutting back on your alcohol consumption. Try going out for drinks only once or twice a week instead of every night.

Buy used textbooks:

You can usually find good used textbooks online or at your campus bookstore. This can save you a lot of money compared to buying new books.

Cook meals at home:

Eating out all the time can be expensive, so try cooking meals at home instead. This can be a great way to save money and also learn some new cooking skills.

Use public transportation:

If your university is located in a city, take advantage of the public transportation system to get around instead of using your own car or taking taxis. This can save you a lot of money on gas and parking fees.

Walk or bike when possible:

Whenever possible, walk or bike instead of taking public transportation or driving. This is a great way to save money and get some exercise at the same time.

Join a gym:

Many universities offer students discounts on gym memberships. This can be a great way to stay fit and save money at the same time.


There’s no need to be stingy while studying in the UK – make the most of your time and experiences. However, a little bit of prudent planning can go a long way. Use the tips above to help you budget and save money while studying in the UK, so that you can enjoy your time here without worrying about money too much.

Do you have any other top tips for budgeting and saving money while studying in the UK? Let us know in the comments below!

Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
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