How to budget in the UK


Living on a student budget can be difficult, especially when surprise expenses come along.

Here are some of the things you should have at the top of your monthly budget, as well as a couple of ideas on how to save some cash.


Your bills - accommodation, utilities and indeed university fees - should be a primary concern, because you can quickly get into a lot of trouble if you don't pay them. Always have enough money in the bank to pay for the regular, monthly commitments such as electricity, gas and broadband. Shop around for deals and don't be afraid to change providers if you find somebody offering a good price.

Not everybody needs a TV Licence. Use this website to check if you actually need to fork out for it - if you never watch a live broadcast, you probably don't need to.

If everybody in the house is a student then you don't need to pay council tax. If the local authority starts sending threatening letters, get in touch with them immediately and explain the situation. They will check the names of all residents against the register held by your university - spelling mistakes and other errors can cause problems, and you may need to send them proof that you're a student in the form of a letter from your university. 


Think about whether you should get contents insurance for your student house. It should be cheaper than having to replace a laptop or Xbox if somebody breaks in and steals your things, and some policies will pay out for accidental damage - check with each provider to ensure you're covered for this (it's usually detailed in the policy wording which you'll find on most providers' websites).

You'll probably receive innumerable insurance flyers when you first check in to halls. Some of these may be great deals; others may offer more cover than you need and so cost more. It's worth doing your own research rather than choosing insurance for your MacBook in the same way you choose a pizza delivery.

If you live with your parents when you're not at university, their home insurance may provide you with limited cover. If you're taking a car to university, tell your insurance company that you're now the main driver, because not doing so could invalidate your policy.


Your campus and its immediate surroundings are exciting and, frankly, the place to be, but occasionally you'll want to escape the bubble and meet friends or family in a different town. For this, you'll need money.

Rail travel in the UK is notoriously expensive, but young people (whether you're a student or not) can get reasonably generous discounts on off-peak trains. The 16-25 Railcard (often referred to as the Young Person’s Railcard) is a nationally-recognised card that entitles the holder to a 30% discount on all Standard and First Class Advance fares, as well as other tickets. It costs £30 a year, but pays for itself in a few journeys.

Coach travel is often cheaper than the train. Companies such as Megabus tend to provide basic travel for very low prices - around £5 between cities.