University finance

Top budgeting tips

Five University of Leicester students offer their top tips on how to budget whilst at university.

There are lots of ways to save money, manage money and even earn money as a student. Here are some of the best suggestions that current and previous students have come up with. Got a good budgeting tip of your own? Share it on our social media channels. 

  • Find a student bank account with an interest-free overdraft. But remember that the overdraft is just a safety net for any short-term cash-flow problems – don’t rely on it!
  • Create two separate bank accounts: one for direct debit commitments such as rent and bills; and one for day-to-day expenses. This way you can’t accidentally spend your rent money! 
  • Divide the money in your day-to-day account by how many weeks it has to last, and monitor your balance regularly. If you're slipping behind, tighten your belt. If you've somehow got a little ahead - treat yourself!
  • Avoid credit cards (including store cards). They charge high interest rates and could give you a bad credit history.
  • A summer or Christmas job can build up your savings. Part-time work during term is also available via Unitemps.
  • Sign up for a Totum Card to get discounts at your favourite shops, and use student websites like Student Beans to find more discounts.
  • Talk with second/third year students - they will know the cheapest local places to shop (and the best time of day to find those yellow-stickered reduced items!).
  • Make your own sandwiches. For the cost of one Meal Deal you can buy a loaf of bread and enough filling to last you all week!
  • Check eBay for used textbooks (but make sure they're the right edition). Check local second-hand bookshops too - many of last year's students will have got rid of their books rather than cart them home.
  • Get help. You don’t have to do it alone. Speak with Student Welfare Service. Talk to someone at the Students' Union. Check websites such as The Student Room. You're not the first student to deal with this and you won't be the last. 

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