This website is not compatible with your browser

Please ensure your browser is fully up to date or try downloading an alternative to view this content.

Uni2 Rent

0115 8708069

Drop us a line, we’ll be happy to help!

Contact Us

How to Budget as a Typical Student Per Week


Most students will feel skint from time to time. It sort of comes with the territory.

A part-time job can make a huge difference. Head here to read our full guide to finding a job as a student.

But some students struggle to balance part-time work with full-time study. And getting a job might be easier said than done. So if you want to make the most of your loan or your grant, it helps to set a personal budget, and keep to it.

Need more help? You can also read our guide to saving money as a student.

Why You Need a Budget as a Student

There’s no denying that budgeting is boring.

But a good budget can help you ensure that your funds never run too low, and that you’ll always have enough money to afford the things you want and need.

A good budget will ensure you always have some money to spare in case of emergencies. It can even help you save up for something really special, like a holiday, or a new laptop.

So maybe budgeting isn’t so boring after all…

How To Set a Budget as s Student Per Week

To set a reliable weekly budget, you’ll need a figure out a few things:

  • Your income
  • Your essential expenses
  • Your non-essential expenses

With these, you can breakdown your weekly or monthly budget to make sure you have all the essentials covered and hopefully some left overs for those non-essentials.

How to Calculate Your Student Income

First, you need to calculate your exact income. Not just how much you’re going to get, but when you’re going to get it.

As a student, these are likely your main income streams:

  • Your maintenance loan. You’ll get this in three big instalments across the academic year.
  • Income from bursaries and grants. There’s no set rule for when you should receive these. But the bursary or grant provider should have made it clear when you’ll receive your money, and how much you’ll receive.
  • Money from your parents. They might send you a set amount on a regular basis. Or they might send you different amounts sporadically. In any case, you should only factor this into your budget if it’s something you can absolutely depend on.
  • Part-time job salary. If you manage to get a part-time job, you’ll either receive your salary weekly, or monthly. You might have to wait a month or so before you know how much to expect after deductions etc.

How to Calculate Your Outgoings

Where does all the money go? Take the time to work it out!

You can look at your bank statement to get exact or ballpark figures for all your outgoings. Some banking apps also let you categorise your spending. You can tag transactions any way you want, which can give you a very good idea of what you’re spending, and where.

Divide your expenses into essentials and non-essentials.

Essential Expenses

Here are some of the most common essential expenses for students:

  • Rent
  • Household Bills – Handily, if you stay in our high quality student accommodation, we’ll include your rent and bills in one payment. That’ll make budgeting much, much easier!
  • Personal Bills – Think of broadband, your TV licence, your mobile, and your insurance.
  • Groceries
  • Transport – If you don’t live within walking distance of campus, how much do you spend on buses and trains? If you have a car, how much do you spend on fuel, tax, and insurance?

Other student essentials might include textbooks, stationery, printing costs, and depending on your course, certain specialist equipment.

Non-Essential Expenses

When we say “non-essential”, we don’t mean “not important”. We just mean, if you don’t spend money on this stuff, you won’t go hungry, get evicted, or get kicked off your course.

Non-essential expenses might include:

  • Your social life – It can be really eye-opening to work out just how much you spend on a night out! But it’s worth doing if you want to stay on top of your finances. Think about taxis, drinks, meals out, takeaways, club entries, and so on.
  • Your hobbies – You do you! All hobbies cost money, but some cost more than others. So whether you enjoy live music, new books, regular trips to the cinema or theatre, or collecting and painting miniature models, work out how much you spend on your hobbies, and how much you need to spend to really enjoy them.
  • Health and beauty – Yes, health and beauty is an “essential” part of life. But consider things like haircuts, beauty treatments, and gym memberships as “non-essential” expenses. Why? Because if you were absolutely desperate for money, these are all things you could quite easily do without.

Other “non-essential” expenses might include travel (flights and hotels), subscriptions (to Netflix, Amazon, and so on), new clothes, and occasional presents for friends and family.

How to Budget as a Typical Student Per Week

Right! So you’ve worked out how much money you’ve got coming in, and how much money you’ve got going out.

Now it’s time to break things down into a weekly budget. Here’s how:

  • Work out your total income for one term of university.
  • Subtract your total essential expenses per term.
  • Divide the resulting number by the number of weeks in a term.

Let’s see how this might work with some example figures.

  • Your total income for one term is £4,000
  • Your total essential expenditure amounts to £2,500
  • Term lasts for 12 weeks.
  • So in this example, your budget would be £125 a week (£4,000 – £2,500 giving you £1,500, then £1,500 divided by 12 giving you £125 each week).

The Benefits of Budgeting For Students

In this calculation, you’ve already accounted for all of your essential expenses. So in theory, everything that remains can be used for non-essential expenses – that is, fun stuff!

This is why it’s important to work out just how much you’re spending on certain things. You might find you’re spending far too much money on nights out, for example, which is causing you problems in other areas.

But in any case, once you know how much money you have left over once you’ve taken care of all the essentials, you can start thinking a little strategically about your budget. You can put a certain amount away each week for emergencies. Or you can save a certain amount, so that you’ll have something to draw from when you want to make a bigger purchase.

None of this is possible if you just take your money for granted and hope for the best. Budgeting gives you peace of mind. It keeps you out of trouble and helps you prepare for anything. And if you do it right, you’ll never find yourself struggling, as you’ll never spend money you don’t have.

Some Essential Tips For Making Every Penny Count

What if you do our weekly budget calculation and find you only have £10 a week to live on? Or even worse, what if you find that you’re spending more money than you have coming in?

Don’t worry. There are bound to be some areas where you can make a difference:

  • Commit to the weekly shop. Plan a week’s worth of meals in advance. Note down exactly what ingredients you need for each meal. Then, when shopping for food, buy those ingredients and only those ingredients. It sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at just how much this can cut down on your grocery bills. Even better, when you know exactly what you’re going to eat each night of the week, you’ll feel less tempted to get that impulsive takeaway.
  • Be aware of common money drains. The odd pack of cigarettes or glass of beer might not cost much on its own. But things soon add up. So be aware of where your money’s going, and look for things you can cut down on. Like coffee, for instance. Head here to read our guide to saving money if coffee’s your thing.
  • Forget about going cashless. Contactless card payments make it far too easy to spend money. This can mean you spend more money than you intend to. So if you only have a set amount to spend each week, why not withdraw that amount as cash? That way, you’ll always know exactly how much money you have left at any given time. And if you have anything left over at the end of the week, you can pop it in a savings jar so you’ll have more when you need it.

One final idea – if you’re studying in Nottingham, move to one of our high quality student living spaces. Not only will you benefit from our affordable rent costs, but as we always make all bills inclusive, you’ll find it much easier to budget too.

Head here to take a look at our student living spaces in Nottingham.

Posted 16.11.22
Ed Henderson
News & Blog

Similar Articles to Read

Keep up to date with the latest news from UNI2 Rent.


On a Budget? Rent a Studio Flat Nottingham – Bills Included!

Read More

How to Set Up Bills in a Student House

Read More

What to Bring to University: Packing Checklist

Read More