Students report that they receive an average of £2,094 from their student loan each term, and studies show they're spending an average of £894 each month. Within the average ten week term, that leaves a shortfall of £142.
What students spend on
If students were to give up nights out, travelling back home to visit family, new clothes, gym membership, alcohol, eating out, and other social activities, they would save £550.68 per term on average.
Students estimate they're spending an average of £112 a month on non-essential items. Research shows that it's actually £220 on average – nearly 2 times their estimate.
Other financial support for students
85% of students rely on additional sources of income outside a student loan to support their lifestyle. Of those, almost half (46%) receive money from their parents or family, while 42% have part-time jobs.
Having a part-time job while studying could help to make up some of the shortfall. 45% of female students have a part-time job to support themselves at university, compared to only 36% of male students, while 8% more women than men have a scholarship or bursary.
Student bank accounts & overdraft usage
When it comes to choosing a student current account, many students base their decision on the incentives on offer. But almost a third (30%) choose theirs due to the size of the overdraft.
Unsurprisingly, 42% of students regularly dip into their overdrafts at an average value of £548, while 6% are more than £1,400 into their overdrafts.
Students mostly use their overdrafts to buy groceries (61% of students), rent (48%), and bills (28%). But almost a quarter (23%) are also using them on nights out and 13% are spending them on clothes.
Student financial advice
As if passing exams and settling into a new city or town isn’t worrying enough, almost a third (30%) of students worry about their finances every day. A further 31% worry on a weekly basis, while only 9% never worry at all.
Despite the financial anxiety only 19% of students who worry daily about money have sought any form of financial advice.
Students believe they will leave university an average of £36,566 in debt. However, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, students are likely to leave university owing more than £50,000.
Money saving tips for students
1. Calculate your income
Knowing how much and where your money is coming from is the first step to saving money. Getting a firm hold of your expenses will give you an idea of how much you need to be putting aside each month for food and rent and how much you can comfortably afford to spend.
2. Overestimate your expenses
Some of us aren't organised enough to know the exact expenses of our day-to-day life, however making a rough list of what you are spending on can help you save in the long run. Making a list of expenses like rent, travel, food or textbooks can help identify the main outgoings. Overestimating how much you are spending is a good way to gauge how much money you need in day-to-day life and can help you stay on top of any pending expenses in the future.
3. Know what you need and want
Knowing the difference between a "need" and a "want" may seem simple, but it can be more challenging than you think, by making a list of needs and wants you can prioritise any urgent expenses.
1. Make a list of thing you want.
2. Make a list of things you need.
3. Rank each item 1 – 5 in terms of priority (1 being ‘high’ and 5 ‘low’ priority)
Listing costs is not intended to limit your spending but direct it to where it may be needed the most.
4. Cut down your travel costs
Travel in the UK can cost a lot - especially in London. As a student you are eligible to travel discounts by means of a 16-25 railcard through National Rail, which costs £30 and will save you 1/3 on all rail fares. Some banks provide this as a sign-up “freebie”, or you can apply for one through Transport For London (TFL).
5. Get an NUS card
The NUS card is something known among college and university students alike, giving students great discounts across the UK with a wide variety of brands like River Island, Superdrug, ASOS and National Rail. The NUS card is a great way to save money without limiting what you normally buy.
6. Choose your bank account wisely
Choosing the right bank to set-up your account with can have a direct impact on your savings. Most banks have specific accounts for students to help them save and manage their money, although some have sign-up incentives that others don't. The "freebies" that some banks give can include free memberships, travel discounts and discount cards.
7. Use your credit card wisely
If you have a credit card using it wisely can help manage your spending month to month. If using a credit card it’s a good idea to:
- Always think about how long it will take you to pay off.
- Pick a minimum and maximum amount you are willing/able to pay each month to manage credit card debt.
- It can be beneficial to be selective about what purchases you use your credit card for.
- Keep an eye on when you are supposed to pay off bills.
8. Shop for bargains
As a student, you will soon realise that the cost of living is very expensive - especially when it comes to grocery shopping. If you are looking to save money on your weekly shop, looking for reduced items and checking online for deals or discounts can help save pennies you might need in the future.
Visit our student budgeting guide for more information and advice for how to manage your money at university.
OnePoll survey of 700 UK Students (July 2018)
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