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Student budget calculator

If you’re going to university soon, you need to make your student loan last. 

We can help you work out your monthly budget with our student budget calculator. We’ll break your spending down into categories such as bills, essentials and extras so you can see where you're spending the most money.

When you’ve entered your income and outgoings into the calculator we’ll give you an idea of your weekly and monthly budget.

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How do I work out what my budget should be?

Our student budget calculator can help you create a monthly or weekly budget to help you manage your outgoings.

Your income 1 of 2
What time period do you want to plan your budget over?
A university term is usually around 3 months.
Please select the time period do you want to plan your budget over.

Tell us about your income each

*Average spend, OnePoll September 2023

How much could I be spending on bills?

You might spend around £352 per month on rent*. But some students can spend as much as £1,000 per month*. For example, rent in cities like Liverpool or Southampton is generally much lower than in prime property hotspots like London or Oxford.

Average spend: £325 per month

Household bills
Typically, you might spend up to £162 per month* on household bills like electricity, water and gas. But living in a student house means you could split the burden of household bills with one another.

The more people in the house share, the less you pay. If you’re in halls of residence these bills are usually included in your rent.

Average spend: £162 per month

Mobile phone
On average you’d pay up to £51 per month* on a mobile phone, but some students spend a lot more.

There are plenty of SIM only deals around for students so using a mobile phone at university doesn’t have to be expensive.

Choosing a plan with just 2GB of data means you could get a SIM for less than £10 per month. But you pay more if you choose a plan with unlimited data.

Average spend: £51 per month

Contents insurance
Your belongings might be covered by your parents' existing contents insurance, but you need to check this. If you’re staying in halls of residence, you might be covered through your university.

But if you’re paying for contents insurance yourself you pay roughly £5 to £6 per month*.

Average spend: £5 to £6 per month

Car costs
If you decide to take your car to uni it could cost you less than £50 per month* if you don’t use it much. But some students spend over £500 per month* on their car.

Remember that car insurance, maintenance and fuel costs vary greatly depending on the type of car and how you use it.

Average spend: £50 per month if it’s not being used a lot

*OnePoll 2023; base n = 1000

How much should I spend on essentials?

You might spend around £182 a month on groceries.*

If you’re a first-year student living in a halls of residence where meals are provided, you’re not likely to spend much on groceries. You also spend less on groceries if you’re buying a lot of takeaways, but this could work out more expensive overall.

Eating lunch at the student union can be a good way to cut your grocery spend as you may get discounted meals there.

Average spend: £182 per month

Course materials
You can expect to spend at least £50 per month on course materials* for most degrees. But if you’re doing an art and design course, you could easily be spending over £100 per month as you’re likely to need more expensive materials.

Average spend: £50 - £100 per month

On average, students spend £132 a month on clothing*. But a large number spend less than £50 a month on clothing.

Average spend: Between £50 and £132 per month

Public transport
When we asked students how much they spend on public transport, the most common answer was up to £51.*

But this cost depends on where you live in relation to the university campus, local shops and entertainment. Living on campus within 15 minutes' walk of the city centre and all the main university buildings means you don’t spend much on public transport.

If you’re living in halls, the university might provide a free bus service to the main campus at certain times.

Average spend: £51 per month

Gym membership
Gym membership is towards the bottom end of student priorities. If you’re on a tight student budget, it makes more sense to exercise in your room or go for a jog than to get an expensive gym membership.

Of the students who were paying for a gym membership, most were spending up to £41 a month*

Average spend: £41 per month

*OnePoll 2023; base n = 1000

How much should I spend on extra costs?

Takeaways was an area where 50% of students felt they should reduce their spend.

On average, takeaways were costing students £109 a month*. Most students were paying up to £101 for takeaways. But a few told us they spend over £400 per month.*

Average spend: £101 per month

Spending money on going to pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys or cinemas is a must for most students. But it can put a hefty dent in your budget, especially if you’re someone who really likes to get out a lot.

On average, we found students were spending £147* a month on going out, but around 25% of students spend over £150 per month on going out.*

Average spend: £147 per month

*OnePoll 2023; base n = 1000

What time period should I plan my budget over?

We asked students, and they told us it was most useful to set their budget over a month or week. But it depends on what’s easiest for you.

Monthly budgeting was the most popular choice, with 44%* choosing it as their favourite. Just 11%*, preferred to set a budget each term – or every 3 months.

It’s always better to know sooner rather than later if you’re overspending.

But setting a daily budget was seen as over the top by most students, with only 4%* budgeting this way.

*OnePoll 2023; base n = 1000

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