How to survive university on a budget

Moving away to university can often be your first experience of living away from home and while it can be one of the most exciting times of your life, it can often come with responsibilities. Like many students, you might’ve applied for a maintenance loan to help cover the cost of living and your accommodation, and although you might feel rich don’t forget this money has to last! We’ve put together this blog to give you some ideas on how you can make your money stretch throughout the year.

Make a plan: Yes it sounds boring, but making a plan on the money coming in and out can actually be really useful. Firstly, add up your total student income:

  • Maintenance loans
  • Bursaries, scholarships, grants
  • Income from a job
  • Money from parents or family
  • Any savings

Once you have a rough idea of the money coming in, you can now work out the money going out. So think about the following:

  • Accommodation fees
  • Food
  • Travel costs
  • Nights out and other leisure activities
  • Course materials such as books

So now that you’ve worked out roughly what you’re spending, it should be a bit easier to budget your money each week and work out your disposable income.

Get an NUS extra card: An NUS extra card is a must for all students and it’s easy to see why! For just £12 for one year or £32 for three years, the NUS card offers you up to 200 UK student discounts. So whether you’re buying a new top on ASOS or watching a film at ODEON, an NUS card is well worth the money.

Shop smart: Your weekly shop will probably end up being your biggest expenditure in university, but there are ways you can try to cut costs. Firstly, choose to shop in student friendly-supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, who offer good quality food for a fraction of the cost. Liverpool is home to many of these stores so you’ll never struggle to find one! You can also save money on your fruit and veg by visiting the Big Apple van on campus, which sells fresh fruit and veg for low prices. The van visits Hope Park campus every Wednesday afternoon.

Share the cooking: Not only can it save you money, but sharing the cooking with your flatmates can be a great way to socialise. Meals such as fajitas, spaghetti bolognese and of course a pan of scouse are perfect for sharing!

Use free transport: Travel costs can take a good chunk out of your money each week, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The University offers a free shuttle bus service for all staff and students, which runs between the Creative Campus, Aigburth Campus and Hope Park during term time. Simply show your ID card when you get on and enjoy free travel to your classes. Click here for the shuttle bus timetable.

Cash vs card: Debit cards are fast becoming the most popular form of payment and with the likes of contactless it’s easy to see why. But, if you think it’s too easy and tempting to go out with just your card then it may be worth withdrawing enough cash to see you through the week. Hopefully this’ll help you stick to your budget.

Look for part-time work: If you have the time, a part-time job can really boost your income and give you some spare cash. At Hope we offer campus-based work for our students, which can allow you to earn a fair wage, develop your skills, gain experience, plus much more. To find out more about Hope Works click here.

Speak to someone: Money troubles can be one of the most overwhelming and uncomfortable feelings, but at Hope we have a team of people who are more than willing to give you help and advice. The Student Finance Team can be contacted by email on or by phone on 0151 291 3435. There is also a Student Development and Well-being team who are on hand to help with any personal issues, you can contact them on or 0151 291 3427.

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