Your guide to budgeting at university

Budgeting at university is an important part of student life. Discover our top tips on managing your budget to help get you started.

Average monthly student living costs

  • Accommodation: £363
  • Food shopping: £72
  • Takeaways: £25
  • Transport: £38
  • Social life: £51
  • Mobile phone: £27
  • Monthly streaming service: £7.99
  • Personal care: £12 - £50

Student life is more affordable than you think

Coming to university is an investment in your future. Remember that you can take a student loan to cover your fees and you won’t need to pay anything back until you’ve graduated and you've got a job.

Please note international students are not eligible to apply for a student loan from the UK Government. You may wish to investigate financial support available from your home country.

1. Student budget calculators

Need help creating a budget whilst you're at university? There are some great online budget calculators and budget planners out there that will help you save money and keep track of your finances.  

Access budget calculators

2. Create a monthly budget

Concerned about how you'll support your living expenses whilst at university? Budgeting may seem boring, but it's important to create a manageable plan that will help keep your finances on track. 

Get help with budgeting

3. Save whilst you study

From free sports centre membership to all-inclusive bills in our accommodation. There are some fantastic benefits to studying with us which will save you lots of money during your time at University.

Money saving tips

Money-saving hacks

Shop second-hand

Before you start university, check out places like Facebook Marketplace and charity shops. Discover second-hand home furnishings and kitchenware for a fraction of the original sales price.

New love for old clothes

Apps like Vinted and Depop are great for buying brand new and second-hand clothes for discounted prices. If you want to make cash whilst you're here, you can also easily sell clothes on the apps.

Student discount

Don't forget, one of the great perks of being a student is having access to amazing student discounts. Before you buy anything research into whether the retailer offers student discount as many places do.

Discounted food

If you're food shopping late at night, check out the reduced food aisle for bargains. If you can't eat it that day, it may be suitable for freezing and will help you save money on future meals.

A city experience without city prices

Preston is one of the most affordable cities in the North West to live and work in. When it comes to affordable rent, public transport, socialising and entertainment, it can’t be beaten.

Check out these stats below from which show the average prices for everyday things. The stats show that Preston is consistently more affordable than the nearby student cities of Liverpool and Manchester:

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Meal out
(inexpensive restaurant)




Meal for two
(three courses, mid-range)




(domestic, 500ml)








Budgeting tips for university

  • UCLan students chatting and shopping in Preston Market

    From free sports centre membership to all-inclusive bills in our accommodation. There are some fantastic benefits to studying with us which will save you lots of money during your time at University. 

  • student-ambassador-helping

    Most of our students choose to earn some extra cash by getting a part-time job for a few hours a week alongside their studies.

  • Students shopping in vintage clothes shop Hollywood Exports, Preston

    As a student you'll have access to loads of exclusive discounts and offers. This will help you cut down on costs and save money during your time at university.

Budgeting advice from our students

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How much do I REALLY spend as a student? #CostOfLiving series

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    Fees and funding

    Studying with us is one of the biggest investments you'll make towards your future. We're here to help you every step of the way. Find out about tuition fees and financial support available such as scholarships and bursaries.

Supporting your studies

Our range of support services will provide you with the help you need throughout your time here and beyond. Our dedicated teams are here to help with every aspect of student life. From financial matters, health and wellbeing, to inclusive support and visas. Whatever you need help with, we're here for you.

Discover our support

The monetary figures used on this page were taken from various sources and are subject to change. The sources include: