How much do I need to budget for university?


So you’ve got those all-important A-Level results, confirmed your place on the course and bought all of your new cutlery and stationary in preparation for moving to university. Now comes the hard part - working out how to budget for the academic year ahead.

University is a completely new experience, so deciding how much you’ll spend on every day essentials such as rent, bills and socialising can be confusing for those embarking on their student adventure for the first time.

To help you out, we’ve taken a look at the average costs of student life across the UK, so you know what to expect when you get to university.

£109.00 per week
Whether you’re moving into halls of residence or you’ve decided that private accommodation is the most suitable option for you, your rent will be your biggest outgoing. The average student spends £109.00 a week on accommodation costs. You may be asked to pay your rent monthly or termly, depending on the type of accommodation you’re living in, so make sure you’re aware of the payment process and set aside money accordingly.

Food shopping
£19.78 per week
Despite the myth that students live on beans on toast and pot noodles, grocery shopping is actually the second largest expense after rent.  You’ll be likely to spend around £19.78 on a weekly food shop, which is at least twice as much as any other outgoing.  If you’re looking to keep the costs down, find out how you can save money on food.

£9.65 per week
Perhaps the biggest sign that you’re entering the real world for the first time is the prospect of paying bills. And this is definitely the case for university students, who pay around £9.65 a week on their household bills. The good thing about living in student accommodation is that the basic utility bills such as gas, water and electricity are usually included in the price. Check this with your provider before you move in. If you’re worried about sorting out bills with other students in a shared house, you can use companies such as Glide who package up all of the household outgoings and itemise them per person, making it easier to split the costs.

Going out
£6.65 per week
Between Freshers Week, gigs and socials the cost of going out can soon add up. Students are spending an average of £6.65 on going out and a further £6.85 on alcohol each week. Remember that socialising doesn’t have to be expensive - why not have a night in with your housemates or check out one of the free events at your union?

Clothes, shoes and accessories
£7.35 per week
Although not technically a student essential, fashion-conscious uni-goers still spend a significant £7.35 a week on their wardrobe. Luckily for you, you can take advantage of the generous student discounts offered in shops and online (try discount student sites such as
My Uni Days or Student Beans). Or why not try clothes swapping with other students to keep spending to a minimum?

Of course these costs are just an approximate guide. The actual amount you spend at university will depend on individual circumstances such as your interests and the city that you’re moving to.

It’s important to do your research thoroughly and set aside a monthly budget each month - including all of your outgoings - so that you know how much you can afford to spend and how you can make the most of the university year.  

Budgeting correctly is an important part of your University experience. Find great value housing by browsing the Student Accommodation Preston page for the latest prices and availability. 

*All figures were compared using the findings from the NatWest Student Living Index.

Bekah Edwards is a Content Executive at Performics.


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