Finance and budgeting at university

Going to university can be daunting enough without having to worry about money, too! We have thought of everything you need to know when it comes to budgeting at university and compiled it into a helpful little guide. Get a head start with our tips to guarantee you won't be living on pot noodles for the year.

Before university

Student Finance

Make sure that you have sorted your student finance arrangements. Hopefully, by now your application for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan (if you even are applying for these) will be long gone. If circumstances have changed, no fuss. Simply get in touch with Student Finance England to let them know of anything that might have changed. If you need a bit more help with your Student Finance Application, we've got all the finance information you'll need.

You can even try to work out just how much you will receive from Student Finance England if you are taking out a maintenance loan. If you know how much your student loan will be, you know how much you have to spend! Check out the student finance calculator online.


Have you ever paid rent before? Ever done the weekly food shop? How much does a four-pack of Heinz baked beans cost?

Budgeting is a key skill, before, during and even after university. Getting a budget in place early and forecasting your spending will make your time much easier, so you’re not scraping by at the end of each month.

We’ve even put together a helpful little budgeting calculator so that you don’t need to create one yourself. 

Part-time work

If you already work at the weekends or during the holidays, that’s great! If you don’t currently have a part-time job then don’t worry. There are plenty of opportunities as a student in Birmingham to pick up some work and some spare cash. Having some extra money to go to the pub or get a takeaway with your flatmates really makes all that work worth it!

One great example is a student ambassador. Most universities have student ambassador schemes which are zero-hour roles where you work for your university and get paid to do it!

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During university


Back to budgeting again. We really can’t emphasise just how important it is to keep on top of your money.

If you aren’t the most organised person then there are plenty of great phone apps and online resources you can use to manage your money for you, for free!

Try to categorise your money into income ( including any loans or wages from work), and outgoings. Outgoings are what you really need to focus on, as there will be so many things you have never even considered having to pay for before.

If you’re living away from home, make sure you have a couple of quid for your washing and tumble drying. That means you’ll also need detergent alongside your usual food shop. What about getting to the shop to buy that food and detergent? You’ll need to factor in travel for things like socialising, lectures and anything else.

After university

Paying back your loans

Lots of people worry about paying back their student finance loans, and there really is no reason to. Repayments only kick in the April after you graduate and only when you are earning over a certain amount each year.

Even when you do begin paying your student loans back, the repayments are incredibly affordable. You can find out more about repayments on the government website.

Grad hints and tips

Get Ready for Uni

Get ready for uni: the ultimate guide

Sign up for exclusive access to our content hub to get ready for student life. You'll find video podcast episodes published weekly on topics including mental health, budgeting and how to make friends at uni as well as handy resources and tips for uni life!