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Managing your money

Many students wonder how they’ll afford everything during their studies. There’s a lot to handle – from tuition fees and accommodation, to food, course materials and a social life.

Your student funding may seem like a lot when it lands in your bank account, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it disappears if you aren’t careful! Developing a few good habits and taking the time to think about your spending can make a big difference to your wallet.

Everyone has different costs and ways of managing their money but our money saving tips will help you make the most of your cash:

In order to maximise your money and make it go further for longer, you recommend that you follow our simple steps:

  • Complete our online learning programme (you can sign up using your student email account);      
  • Try our budget calculator to keep track of what’s going in and out of your account;      
  • Draw out your money for the week in one withdrawal and try to make it last, you’ll be more aware of what you’re spending. Small withdrawals here and there may seem like nothing, but quickly build up;      
  • Think about paying your bills by direct debit, it will help you budget;      
  • Open, read and keep all your bank statements. Mistakes do happen, and certain banks charge to send you copies;      
  • Choose your student bank account carefully. A free overdraught can be very useful, and many banks offer perks such as free rail cards, vouchers or cheap cinema tickets. Look for hidden charges in the small print.

Think about University accommodation. You get internet, gas and electricity, TV license and membership to the Sports Centre all included in your rent.

  • If you choose to live in private accommodation, check what is included in your rent. Remember that you may have to pay extra for internet and bills.
  • Live with your friends. Generally, the more people sharing a house or flat the cheaper the rent will work out each. You’ll save when you split the bills too.
  • Put your heating on a timer and stick to it. Invest in a hot water bottle and some big jumpers to keep out the cold when you’re studying.
  • Have showers instead of baths.
  • Cook together with your housemates - stews, chillis and currys for a crowd are cheaper than ready meals for one. Alternatively, make lots and freeze the extra.
  • Buy second hand books or even go to a Book Swap event. You can even find most course material in the library but remember to go early to find the copies of the books you want! If you have books you would like to swap, the I Swap Books website may also be useful.
  • You can also independently compare providers for broadband, TV and phone using sites such as Cable. This site is Ofcom accredited so it won't sell you things you don't need during the comparison.
  • You can also use other sites for comparisons, including student broadband packages, such as Choose.

*Whilst suggestions are made about external sites and services, choosing to take a product from them or based on their suggestions is entirely at your own risk. Seriously consider the product before choosing. If you share a student house, ask all residents' permission before switching or choosing a product.

Invest in a bus pass or rail card - it’ll save you loads and you’ll never need change again.

  • Even better, cycle or walk whenever possible. You’ll get fit and help the environment in the process
  • Be sure to check the reduced section in your local supermarket, you can save up to 75% on things that are close to their sell by date. Also check out the market at Salford Shopping City.
  • Buying lunch can cost you £5 a day, why not bring a packed lunch instead?
  • Choose value brands over big names, there’s often very little difference in the products.
  • Be creative with your clothes. Customise, swap with friends and browse the charity shops instead of spending £50 on a new outfit.
  • Buy your books, DVDs and CDs second hand. There may be other options so look at websites such as or Amazon for good deals. Sell on your old things when you’re finished with them.
  • Get an NUS Extra card for discounts and special offers in many High street shops.
  • Visit the Moneysaving Expert for tips and vouchers to save you money on just about everything.
  • Read guides on WiFi zones (including free ones).

*Whilst suggestions are made about external sites and services, choosing to take a product from them or based on their suggestions is entirely at your own risk. Seriously consider the product before choosing. If you share a student house, ask all residents' permission before switching or choosing a product.

All students need a bank account of their own. For your own safety, you should not keep large amounts of money in your bag or in your accommodation - pay it into a bank account as soon as you can. Then, you can easily withdraw money from locations such as the cash machine in University House.

If you have not opened a bank account before you arrive at University, it should be the first thing you do once you are settled into your accommodation. There are many banks in Manchester City Centre and Salford Precinct. At registration, Barclays Bank and Santander Bank have a stall where they help new students who wish to open a student bank account with them.

Choose your bank account carefully, things to think about include:

  • Can you get a debit card?
  • Can you set up direct debits? This makes it easier to pay regular bills, rent etc.
  • Do you get a free overdraft and how much is it? If you overdraw past your limit you may have to pay bank charges.
  • How much interest do you get?
  • Can you transfer money to accounts overseas or use your debit card abroad? This is useful if you are an international student or plan to study abroad.
  • What perks do you get? Most student accounts offer rewards such as rail cards, cash back and reduced concert tickets. 

You will need to bring identification with you when you apply for your bank account. Documents that help include:

  • A passport or UK driving license
  • A letter from the University offering your place and showing your home address
  • A document confirming your address whilst at University (e.g. an accommodation contract or tenancy agreement)
  • A letter showing your funding arrangements (i.e. from your sponsor, Student Finance England etc.)
  • If you are an ERASMUS student you may also need a letter from your home institution.

For help choosing an account, you can compare Student Bank Accounts on the Money Saving Expert website.

The Monetos website has further information on opening a bank account in the UK. It is also useful for advice on opening a bank account in another EU country, particularly for an Erasmus study or work placement.

here are lots of things you can do to increase income, not just by earning money. Here are a few things you can look at before starting university or whilst you are currently studying:

  • cut down on non-essential spends. For example, do you really need to run a car?
  • look for part-time work. Often it's easy for students to combine study with some part-time work. This will increase your chances of not running into financial difficulty and may give you extra money to spend on some items which you wouldn't be able to afford after paying for your rent and living costs. To find out about companies who may be interested in employing students, please visit the Careers and Employability website.
  • check your student funding with your awarding body. Are you entitled to the full amount. If you have children and/or partner, are you claiming the full allowances such as Parents' Learning Allowance or Dependants allowance?
  • student overdrafts are a good way to help manage money from one month to the next. Try not to max-out the overdraft with the first week as you may have difficulty paying it back in the future but the good thing about student overdrafts is that it's often interest-free for the period of study and sometimes a few years after as well. Most come with great repayment plans too, such as reducing an overdraft by £500 each year to help you clear it off easier
  • Money Saving Expert always has offers and money-saving tips but remember not to buy on the impulse of a good deal! Always ask yourself whether you need the item you're buying.

If you do get into financial difficulty, it is important to ask for help. Debts will only grow if you ignore them, and a bad credit rating can cause you problems later. You can discuss your finances with an askUS Specialist Adviser, or confidentially contact the National Debt Line or the Citizens' Advice Bureau. In certain circumstances you may also be eligible for help from the Salford Support Fund.

If you wish to contact a member of our finance advice team for further information or to book a one to one appointment then please email us at