Student living costs

Being a student can be a big change - you'll have to manage your own finances and this can be tough at first. Here are some top tips to help you manage your money.

Budgeting primary

Living costs

It's important to get to grips with your incomings and outgoings when you first start your course. You're probably wondering how much you should be budgeting for groceries, accommodation, bills and just general day-to-day costs. Planning your spending is not only very sensible but also frees you up to not feel guilty when you know you've budgeted extra funds for your nights out, shopping trips and other well-deserved treats.

General expensesApproximate weekly cost
University accommodation (51 weeks). Bills are usually included in the cost of accommodation! From £145 to £208 depending on your preferences
Food, and other shopping £30 - £100
Laundry (using a laundrette) £5 - £10
Course-related costs: books/stationery/photocopying/binding (dependent on month) £5 - £50
Bus pass £45
Other bills and subscriptions (phone, Netflix, Spotify) £20 - £100
Social activities (cinema, bowling, nights out) £10 - £50

If you're an undergraduate student studying your first degree, you may be able to apply for a maintenance loan and receive additional funding to help with your living costs.

Find out more about Student Finance

Commuting vs living in halls

There are pros and cons to the question of whether you should commute to uni and live at home, or strike out on your own and live in halls. There are pros and cons to both.

Money-wise, there can be a big difference - living at home doesn't come with a bill for student accommodation. However, many parents expect their children to pay towards the costs of running a household, and you may be roped into other less pleasant tasks like vacuuming and washing up if you don't already do these! However, the balance of saving the money you would spend on halls means you have a bit more of your funds free for your social life. Read Mollie's blog about how much she spends commuting to uni from home.

On the flip side, if you're in halls you don't need to worry about commuting costs and travel time, so you can roll straight out of bed and stroll to your lectures. You need to be more careful with managing your funds if you're living independently, but remember that everyone else is in the same boat and won't expect you to go out for dinner every night. There is a lot of support available on campus too if you ever run into any difficulties.

Finding a part-time job

A lot of students at university have part-time jobs to supplement their income and add new skills to their CV. There are loads of jobs available for students both within the university and in local shops, bars, restaurants or entertainment venues.

Balancing uni and work

Where can you get help?

There are loads of resources available to you on campus and online, whether you want to ask about how to budget or if you need to find a part-time job.

Our Careers+ team can advise on employability and how to find a part-time job to support your studies. They can help you write a CV, prepare for interviews and develop key skills you need in the workplace.

On campus
  • BlackBullion is the one-stop shop for student money advice. You can find a budget calculator here, plus competitions to win and information about how to make your money work for you. Simply log in with your BCU details!
  • Money Saving Expert is a great resource to find tips on - you guessed it - saving money! They feature discounts and student offers, so it's good to check the latest deals here before you make any bigger purchases.
  • The Totum discount card from the NUS is the best way to unlock student discounts at every opportunity. Sign up using your uni account and start saving!
  • Unidays is the ultimate discount website for students - use this to get codes for all your favourite online shopping destinations and get yourself an average of 10 per cent off. Keep checking back as they often do limited-time offers of up to 50 per cent off!

What should you do next?

Find out what support is available

We've got all the information you need to understand the financial support that's available from both the government at BCU. 

Financial support

See if you're eligible for one of our scholarships

We want all our students to achieve their full potential. With our High Achiever and Accelerate Scholarships, you could receive extra funding and support to kick start your BCU journey.

Find out more about scholarships

Become a money-savvy student

Not sure how much it costs to live on your own, commute to uni or do your own food shop? We've put together all of the information and top tips you need to become a budgeting expert.

Student living costs