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How to Budget at Uni

Coming to university is one giant leap into adulthood; a new world of responsibilities, self-reliance and independence. As well as making sure you have enough clean socks to wear, keeping track of your finances is essential throughout uni life. In fact, juggling where your money is coming and going is a life skill to take with you beyond your days at university...Welcome to adulthood!

Getting Started:

Tracking your expenses, and deliberating whether you can afford that extra-cheesy pizza, can be a daunting prospect. The first step is organisation (another life skill worth acquiring). Either on a notice board in your room, a section in your diary or even the notes page in your phone; writing down how much money you have coming in every month will set everything out clearly. Note down support from parents, family members, student finance or even a part-time job.

Then you must list the areas that take away your money (the not so fun part). The biggest expense will probably be your rent and bills. Make sure you know exactly how much is going out of your account, and on which particular day.

Once you have a monthly figure you can deduct where the rest of your money is going, this takes us to the process of prioritisation. Being an adult means you have to actually think about how you spend money, and whether or not it is a wise purchase. You must consider areas such as food shopping, textbooks, clothes, travel, nights out etc. By prioritising your expenses you can ensure you have money in the bank for more important things. Time to start making decisions like bread and milk for the week, or a cheeky Nandos?

Below are some key tips to help balance your finances:


Despite the myth, university students do not live on baked beans and toast (unless of course, that’s your thing!). With careful financial planning, students can eat whatever they want.  As an example, I save myself some money by bringing in my own coffee, as opposed to buying one at a cafe. You can save even more money by:

  • Taking lunch into uni from home, and not buying it at Starbucks or Habita everyday
  • Planning your meals for the week so you aren’t buying unnecessary items in your Morrisons food shop
  • When food shopping, stick to a shopping list- avoid impulse buys

After Uni Hours

At the end of the day, university is also about making memories and enjoying yourself as much as possible. Club events, going out for meals, gigs etc. can build up a hefty bill. However, no one wants you to stay inside every night just to save money. Time to find a balance. Aside from not going out every single night, you can socialise on a budget by:

  • Scoping out the student-friendly bars that offer student deals (eg. Northumbria Student Union: Habita)
  • Download the UniDays app for discounts at restaurants, shops etc.
  • Socialise with friends in your flat/accommodation


Even though Newcastle is a small city, there’s always the temptation to get a taxi or the Metro to places you need to be. Regarding transport facilities, you can save by:

  • Walking as much as possible
  • Taking the bus, as opposed to a taxi or Uber
  • Use student railcards for train and Metro services

Get a job

Some students get part-time jobs at university- I have one! There’s nothing wrong with earning a bit more money to ensure you can treat yourself once in a while. Plus I’ve made some great friends where I work. The important thing to remember is that university is your main focus, and your job cannot overwhelm your studies.

Northumbria University also offers additional support and advice for people who are struggling with getting their finances together. You can find more information about financial support on the website:

There are also drop in sessions with an advisor available:

Monday- Friday at 10am - 4pm  (Wednesday 1 - 4pm), at the Ask4Help point, Student Central, City Campus Library


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