Managing living expenses as a university student

Managing your finances isn’t always easy and we’d all like our money to go further. We’ve asked our MSc student ambassador Sybil-Amanda to share her top tips on how to help you effectively manage your finances at university.  

As a WBS student, you will have varied commitments however it is important that you manage your expenses. From shopping to discounts, here are some things you can consider in order to successfully manage your expenses:

Food shopping

Shop smart. When living on a student budget, shop at student-friendly supermarkets i.e., supermarkets that offer great value even on a student budget. Lidl and Aldi are well-known discount supermarkets in the UK where you can stock up on groceries all while sticking to your budget. They also have daily promotions where prices are reduced on items that are nearing their expiry dates. Weekly shopping in these supermarkets can cost no more than £25, although this varies from person to person.

Another popular supermarket, Tesco, is known for its Clubcard which is a loyalty card that is used to collect points on food and other items in-store. The Clubcard is free to use - it simply requires you to download an app. There are other supermarkets like Waitrose and Marks and Spencer that also guarantee a wide variety of high-quality food, but they are often more expensive.

Meal deals

Another good way to economically approach food budgeting in the UK is to grab meal deals, especially on busy days. Meal deals are usually found in retail shops, and they consist of a sandwich, a drink, and a snack. Ideally, buying these items individually will be more expensive, but when purchased in conjunction the meal deal reduces the cost.

Discounts and offers

As a student in the UK, you will benefit from discounts in most retail shops, so I recommend that you ask for a student discount whenever you go shopping! When shopping online, there are lots of discounts available on UNIDAYS, which is a discount website that offers students discounts on products and services. With UNIDAYS, you can treat yourself to various products and services from your favorite brands while saving at the same time.

There are also numerous offers you can take advantage of. You can also consider using mobile networks such as EE that offer student packages such as 20% off your monthly bill, six free months of Apple Music and 500 MB of extra data every month. Amazon also offers a six-month free trial of Prime Student which includes One-Day Delivery, Prime Video, Prime Music, and exclusive discounts.


If you live off-campus, this year you could buy a monthly bus pass for £31 or term-time bus pass for £125 for all buses in the Coventry area.  If you intend to travel around other cities in the UK, then buying an annual railcard for £30 will save you 1/3 off the price for almost every journey you take.

It is very easy to exceed your budget, so my final tip is to stay organised and even use a budgeting app such as YNAB (you need a budget) and always put down a list of what you actually need to avoid temptation when you go shopping!

Read more top tips on navigating life as an MSc student at WBS on our Postgraduate blog.