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Managing your Money: Living Costs

Your income as a student

There are many ways students can fund their living expenses while studying. Some may get help from parents or carers. Others may work part-time, or take out a Maintenance Loan.

It can be difficult to manage a lump sum of money for the first time. This is especially true if it has to last for a few weeks or months. If you get a maintenance loan, you'll receive it in three equal instalments at the start of each term. You need to be able to make it last.

Here are a few suggestions on how to make your money stretch until your next instalment.

  • Give yourself a weekly budget. Divide each term's income across the number of weeks it needs to last.
  • Set up a second bank account and transfer yourself a weekly or monthly amount. This helps reduce the danger of you overspending.
  • Create a budget plan detailing how much you'll spend on each living cost. You can then track your spending as you go.

Average living costs

Students eating in Nottingham

Your living costs will depend on your life outside of lectures. There are plenty of city cafés to choose from. If you plan on completing coursework in one of them, you should factor in all that extra coffee and cake money. If you want to go out with friends, you'll want extra cash for trips and nights out.

We estimate you'll need around £9,000 for living and accommodation costs per year if you live away from home. The exact amount will depend on your lifestyle.

This may seem like a lot of money, but don't worry. Full-time home undergraduate students can apply for a government Maintenance Loan. You could receive up to £9,488, based on your circumstances. That's alongside the Tuition Fee Loan. Postgraduates can get a Masters Loan or Doctoral Loan. They can use these to cover some of their living costs as well as their tuition fees.

Here are the average living costs per month for NTU students. They're based on the National Student Money Survey 2021. These are just examples, so costs will vary depending on your lifestyle.

CategoryAverage monthly cost
Groceries£101
Socialising£47
Takeaways£41
Household bills£40
Transport£34
Clothes£34
Course materials£17
Mobile phone £15
Health & wellbeing£15
Holidays & events£14
Gifs & charity£13

If you manage your money, living in Nottingham can be very affordable. There are hundreds of things to do and places to visit in and around Nottingham. We recommend making some room in your budget to explore your new home.

Up-front costs

Bring money with you

Most students don't get their first payment until the end of their first week at university. That's assuming everything goes to plan. You should bring enough month to cover your expenses for at least a week. How much you spend is up to you, but we recommend you bring at least £200. If you applied for your funding late, you'll need more.

Up front versus termly

Some things may be slightly cheaper if you pay for them up front. This can include things like a bus pass or an annual gym membership. Work out what the difference in cost is, whether it's worth paying up front, and whether you're sure you even need it. For example, don't buy a bus pass if you don't know how or when you'll be travelling to university.

Calculating your budget

Here are three simple steps to creating your budget.

  1. What income do you have? How much is it and when do you receive it?
  2. What expenses do you have? Remember to include small costs as these will add up.
  3. Calculate your budget by subtracting your expenses from your income.

Download our budget worksheet for an easy way to plan your budget over the whole year.

Remember to:

  • track your spending each week or month
  • update your budget throughout the term.

If you'd like our help with completing a budget, get in touch with our Student Financial Support team. We can support you even before you arrive at NTU.

Any questions?

Find out about managing your money. We have tips and advice on keeping track of your finances and how to budget during university study.

If you have more questions, email the Student Financial Support Service or call +44 (0)115 848 2494.