Student finance – How to maintain a budget

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  • Student finance – How to maintain a budget

We understand more than most that spending money as a student can be very challenging. It is likely you are going to have a low income or sometimes no income at all. The cost of living is rising and this is why you need to be realistic when doing a student budget. You need to make sure that you get as many discounts as you can for items and ensure that your money goes as far as it can. Our tips are as follows;

Managing your student loan so it lasts for the whole term

You have got your very first student loan which seems a huge amount of money in your account. However, remember student loans are limited and each instalment should last you to the end of the next one. The budget would vary depending on your maintenance loan you get, whether you get support from your parents or have a part time income.

It can make it very difficult to maintain stability during your time at university. You will receive your loan in three instalments in September, January and April.

Make sure you have enough money throughout the term

Once your loan comes in you should calculate your weekly budget until the next instalment. For instance if you receive £2,000.00 in September then it is roughly 17 weeks till your next payment in January.

Accommodation costs

Whenever you are taking a property you should always consider the rent and the utility payments. Whether you are paying rent on a monthly basis or not you should make sure this is the first thing you pay with your student loan. If you pay this over for the period that you have received the loan then you know whatever balance you have got is for you. Again, calculate how much your rent will be over 17 weeks, either put the money aside or pay it upfront. Using a budget really helps you to make sure you have enough money for everything. You need to look at every area that you are spending in University and save money effectively.

Food shopping

Obviously, food is an essential and should be a very much top priority after your rent and bills. It is important you spend money on food at University but it will vary. When buying food on a budget try and find the most effective way of spending on potentially a weekly meal plan. Only buy what you need for your meals avoiding food waste and over spending.

Cooking food in bulk is well known to be one of the best ways to get the best for your money. Decide on one or two meals that you can cook each week to reduce the different ingredients you need. Then, for instance if you are doing a spaghetti Bolognese you make enough for 3-5 meals and freeze some of it.

Try to reduce your cost by buying own brand food where possible. Some supermarkets have a friendly food option for basics such as, pasta, meat, cereals etc. If you find it a struggle with own brand items don’t go to your local convenience store always try to find a larger supermarket because you will be saving money. It could be double the price locally. If you are going with friends to the supermarket try and get one car or split the cost of a taxi.

Look out for the bargains in the supermarket and work out when they put items that are fresh up for sale. Often when they are about to go out of date the price drops dramatically.

Course costs

Always find out before the start of your course what you will need to purchase for the year. You may need to budget for text books, supplies, trips away, printing costs. This depends on your degree.

You can save on text books by buying second hand online, reach out to other students in the years above to see if they are selling their books. Check at the University library whether you need to buy a book or if reading list is there. Larger Universities generally have multiple copies of required reading for students to borrow. See if there is anything online you can find that is free and can help you.

Saving money on utility bills

We understand utility bills can be one of the highest costs. There are various different ways you can pay your bills as follows;


In order to lower your electricity bill always try to switch off appliances and lights when you are not using them. Did you know that phone chargers use up energy even if they are not actually charging your phone. It is therefore important that they are switched off at the wall. If you buy new appliances try to purchase the most energy efficient model.


Explore the option with different providers and the packages you want. The speed of WIFI and number of house mates may vary the price.


Take shorter showers, have less baths and use less hot water each week. When washing up use the plug to fill the sink with hot water rather than washing the dishes under the running hot tap. There is various different ways you can deal with these items. Please do not hesitate to read our previous articles on this, click here.

Travel costs as a student

There are various different ways you can save on travel.

Public transport costs during term time

If you need to commute to university, make sure you consider this before you take your accommodation. Buying a weekly or monthly pass can save a huge amount of money on tickets. Some companies offer discounts and you should always try and find these.

Taxi rides

If you plan to go on a night out you may need to budget for taxis as there may not be public transport options.


Depending on how often you plan to visit your previous home make sure you have enough money for your traveling. If you live further away make sure you know the cost per journey is. Often you can buy railcards through a 16-30 railcard as well as booking well in advance for tickets.

Car running costs

If you want to take your car to university think about the running costs such as insurance, fuel, repairs and tax. You may want to have some form of car sharing with other people paying you for it.

Budgeting for any form of leisure you may want

You have gone to University to work but you also know there will a lot of nights out, eating out and socialising with friends. We are sure that these are absolutely critical to your enjoyment and your development in life. But keep an eye on your spending! You might want to set yourself a budget for leisure and shopping, so you are not spending too much.

Student unions often offer cheap events and better alternatives to activities in the city or local area. As well as cheap drinks. You will often find local pubs, restaurants to do cheap student nights out.

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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