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Managing your Money: Living Costs

Your income as a student

There are many ways students fund their living expenses whilst studying, e.g some may get help from parents or carers, work part-time, or take out a maintenance loan. It can be difficult to manage a lump sum of money for the first time, especially when you need it to last a few weeks or months. If you receive a maintenance loan, this will be paid in three equal instalments at the start of each term so 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 so you’re not in danger of overspending.
  • Create a budget plan, detailing how much you will spend on each living cost and track your spending as you go.

Average living costs

Students eating in Nottingham

Your living costs will depend on your life outside of lectures. If you plan on completing coursework in a city café (and there are plenty to choose from!), 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 that you’ll need around £8,000 of living and accommodation costs per year if you live away from home, depending 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 of up to £9,488 (based on your circumstances) alongside the Tuition Fee Loan. Postgraduates can use their Masters Loan or Doctoral Loan to cover some of their living costs as well as their tuition fees.

Here are the average living costs per month for NTU students, based on the National Student Money Survey 2019. These are just examples, so costs will vary depending on your lifestyle:

CategoryAverage monthly cost
Household bills£18
Holidays & events£16
Gifts & charity£11
Mobile phone£20
Health & wellbeing£12
Course materials£10

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, so we recommend making some room in your budget to explore your new home.

Upfront costs

Bring money with you

Even if everything goes to plan, most students do not receive their first payment until the end of their first week at university, so you should bring enough funds to cover your expenses for a week.  How much you spend if up to you, but we recommend you bring at least £200. If you applied late for your funding, you will need more.

Upfront vs termly

Some things may be slightly cheaper if you pay for them upfront, for example a bus pass or an annual gym membership. Work out what the difference in cost is and whether it's worth paying upfront - and only if you’re sure you need it. For example, don’t buy a bus pass if you don’t know how or when you will 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 removing 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 and update your budget throughout the term.

If you would like any support completing a budget, even before you arrive at NTU, please get in touch with our Student Financial Support team.

Any questions?

For tips and advice on keeping track of your finances and how to budget during university study, visit our Managing your Money page on the StudentHub.

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