Money Saving Tips For Students: A Guide To Frugal Living In UK

In the fast-paced world of student life in the UK, managing finances wisely is a skill that can make all the difference. From tuition fees to daily expenses, the financial journey of a student is a unique one. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the realm of savvy money-saving tips tailored specifically for UK students. Whether you’re a fresher embarking on your university adventure or a seasoned scholar looking to make every pound count, our insights will empower you to navigate the financial landscape with confidence.

money saving tips

Table of Contents

Budgeting as a Student

As a student navigating the dynamic landscape of education and personal growth in the UK, the significance of adept financial management cannot be overstated. The journey through higher education is accompanied by a myriad of opportunities and experiences, but it also brings forth a range of financial challenges and expenditures that demand thoughtful consideration. Fret not, here are some money saving tips that will help you get through this!

How much does it cost to study in the UK?

Studying in the UK offers a world-class education, but it comes with a price tag that can vary depending on your circumstances. Tuition fees for undergraduate degrees in the UK differ based on your home country. Here’s an overview of the costs:

  • For home students in England, tuition fees can go up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.

  • Institutions in Wales can charge up to £9,000 for home students. Welsh students can also apply for a fee grant to cover some tuition fees.

  • Northern Irish universities charge up to £4,710 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.

  • In Scotland, home students at the undergraduate level do not pay tuition fees, but students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland can expect to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students face significantly higher fees.

For international students, lecture-based undergraduate degrees in the UK can cost between £10,000 and £26,000 annually, with medical degrees going as high as £67,892 per year. Postgraduate degree charges for international students vary depending on the university.

To help cover tuition and living costs, home students can apply for government loans. The upper limit for tuition fee loans is £9,250 per annum, which, over a typical three-year undergraduate degree, could result in an average student debt of around £27,750. Adding in maintenance loan repayments, this figure can rise to between £35,000 and £40,000.

Student Living Cost in the UK 2023/2024

Aside from tuition fees, students also need to consider the cost of living in the UK:

  • Accommodation costs vary across the UK. On average, students spend around £126 per week on rent, with London being more expensive at around £182 per week. Over a typical three-year degree, accommodation can cost approximately £19,692.

  • Utility bills, mobile phone expenses, and internet costs add up to around £115 per month.

  • Books and university equipment typically cost about £60 per month.

  • Transportation costs differ by location but can be around £45 per month with a student travel card or £140 per month in central London.

  • Food expenses can vary, but the average weekly food bill in the UK is £50.

  • Entertainment, including meals in pubs and restaurants, cinema tickets, and more, may also vary by location, with London and the South being more expensive.

  • Gym membership, on average, costs about £50 per month, with student discounts available.

  • A typical night out, including travel, drinks, and club or event entry, can set you back approximately £30

Basic Money Saving Tips for Students

Budgeting lies at the core of successful student financial management. Understanding and implementing a budget tailored to your unique needs can transform your student journey into a financially sound and fulfilling experience. In student life, budgeting involves allocating your income, whether it’s from loans, grants, part-time work, or other sources, to cover various expenses while ensuring savings for future goals. By setting clear spending limits and tracking your expenses, you gain control over your finances and avoid unnecessary debt. *Hint: this includes your night life too! 

Creating a personalised budget starts with assessing your income and categorising your expenses. Allocate funds for essential costs like tuition, rent, and utilities, followed by variable expenses such as groceries, transportation, and leisure activities. Don’t forget to allocate a portion for savings and emergencies. Regularly reviewing your budget and adjusting it as needed is essential for staying on track and accommodating any changes in your financial situation.

Smart Shopping: Groceries on a Budget

The art of smart shopping extends far beyond the aisles of stores. It involves a strategic approach to spending that allows you to maximise the value of every pound. One of the key strategies is comparing prices before making purchases. Whether you’re buying textbooks, electronics, or everyday items, taking the time to research prices across different retailers can yield substantial savings.

In today’s digital age, the internet is your ally in the quest for deals. Numerous online resources and apps are designed to help you uncover discounts, promo codes, and cashback offers. Websites dedicated to voucher codes and price comparison tools can be invaluable companions on your money-saving journey. Harnessing the power of technology not only saves you money but also empowers you to make informed purchase decisions.

Thrifty Eating: Plan your Meals

Navigating the world of food on a student budget requires a dash of creativity and a pinch of planning. Cost-effective meal planning and cooking can significantly reduce your food expenses without compromising on nutrition or taste. Consider preparing meals in batches to save time and money. Embrace versatile ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes, and explore budget-friendly recipes that make the most of seasonal produce.

When it comes to grocery shopping, opt for supermarkets that offer student discounts or loyalty programmes. Buying in bulk, especially non-perishable items, can also lead to substantial savings over time. Additionally, explore local markets for fresh produce at competitive prices. By adopting these strategies, you’ll not only manage your food budget efficiently but also develop lifelong culinary skills.

Look for Cheaper Accommodation

Finding suitable and affordable student housing is a crucial aspect of financial management. Begin your search by exploring university accommodation options, which often provide cost-effective solutions tailored to student needs. If you’re considering private rentals, research extensively to find properties that offer good value for money.

Reducing utility bills is another avenue for savings. Embrace energy-efficient habits, such as turning off lights when not in use and using appliances mindfully. If your accommodation allows it, consider sharing utility costs with housemates to distribute the financial burden.

Basic money saving tips for students

Which Universities have the most Expensive Student Accommodation

The average monthly rental for students in the UK stands at £535. Here are the most expensive student accommodations in the country:

University Name
Average Rental/Month (£)
Imperial College London825
Queen Mary775
King’s College London748
Edge Hill738

Which Universities have the Cheapest Student Accommodation

The average monthly rental for students in the UK stands at £535. Here are the cheapest student accommodations in the country:

University Name
Average Rental/Month (£)
Queen’s University Belfast289
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)363
Open University390
Trinity St David440

Getting Part-Time Work as Students

Balancing the demands of academic pursuits with part-time employment requires finesse and strategic planning. Engaging in part-time work can not only supplement your income but also provide valuable skills and experiences that enhance your CV. Here are some pointers to consider when navigating the realm of part-time employment as a UK student:

Balancing Act: When seeking part-time employment, it’s paramount to strike a balance between work commitments and academic responsibilities. 

Flexible Opportunities: Look for roles that offer flexible working hours, allowing you to adjust your work schedule according to your class timetable and study commitments. 

On-Campus Opportunities: Universities often provide on-campus job opportunities that are tailored to student schedules. 

Skill Alignment: Seek employment that aligns with your skills and interests. Not only will this make your work more enjoyable, but it can also contribute to your personal and professional development.

Utilise University Resources: University career centres can be invaluable in connecting you with part-time job listings. They might also offer workshops on CV writing, interview skills, and networking, which can enhance your employability.

Industry Connections: Depending on your field of study, consider exploring part-time positions that are relevant to your future career. 

Remote Work Opportunities: In an increasingly digital world, remote work options are becoming more prevalent. 

Networking Benefits: Part-time work often provides opportunities to network with professionals in your chosen field. 

Financial Planning: While earning through part-time work is beneficial, it’s important to manage your earnings wisely. Allocate a portion of your income to cover immediate expenses, build savings, and address long-term financial goals.

By approaching part-time work strategically and thoughtfully, you can navigate the world of employment while maintaining your focus on academic achievement. With the right balance and mindset, part-time work can complement your student journey and contribute to your holistic growth.

Free Student Budget Calculator

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Frequently Asked Questions about Money Saving Tips

Budgeting is crucial for students because it helps manage limited funds effectively. It ensures that money is allocated wisely for tuition, accommodation, food, and other expenses, reducing the risk of overspending and accumulating debt.How can I create a budget that works for me?

To create a personalised budget, calculate your monthly income and list all your expenses. Prioritise essential costs, allocate funds for variable expenses, and set aside a portion for savings. Regularly track your spending to stay within your budget.

Look for student discounts at retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Many websites and apps aggregate student deals, and student ID cards often grant access to various discounts.

Consider on-campus jobs, retail or hospitality roles, tutoring, freelance work, or virtual internships. Choose roles that align with your schedule and provide relevant experience for your future career.

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