What do students spend money on?

If you’re heading off to university this September you’ll want to know how much money you’ll have, how much money you’ll be spending and what you’ll be spending your money on. Lucky for you, we are here to help you out with that!

How much money do students have?

As you may already know, your student finance entitlement will vary depending on your household income. To find out more about student loans read our extensive guide.

Read About Student Loans

In 2016, student loans on average contributed £161.14 per week* towards a student’s income, with students also working part time to support their income with an average earning of £19.17 per week. It’s also fairly common for parents or family to help students out during their time at university and in 2016 there was an average helping of £40.27 per week for students from their family members.

Other sources of money for students in 2016 included bursaries, scholarships, personal savings, and bank overdrafts. All of this considered on average you can expect to have around £1,193.15 every term whilst you are at university.

What do I have to pay out for at University?

When you start university you’ll have a long list of new responsibilities including managing your finances. Some of these financial responsibilities are outlined in our article here, but you can view a complete list of weekly expenses below based on averages from 25 popular university cities across the UK:

  • Rent – £109
  • Groceries – £19.78
  • Household Bills – £9.65
  • Eating Out – £8.45
  • Clothes – £7.35
  • Alcohol – £6.85
  • Going out – £6.65
  • Transport visiting home – £5.78
  • Car day to day travel – £5.10
  • Public day to day transport – £5.08
  • Mobile Phone Bills – £4.40
  • Books and Course Materials – £3.20
  • Home Entertainment – £1.90

This could be subject to change depending on the university that you choose to attend but this can be used as a rough guide for how much to budget each week.

Which cities are the most cost effective?

Across the UK the cost of living is very varied, with some cities having a weekly rental cost for as little as £73.81. It is traditionally known that studying in the North of the country can be a lot cheaper in the south, but here is a quick breakdown of the top 25 cost effective student cities in the UK**. You can find out more about each student city by clicking on each field.

1st– Portsmouth
5th– Exeter
15th– Reading


Wherever you choose study you’ll need to consider your finances and budget accordingly. You need to thoroughly work out how much money you’ll have and how much money you’ll need to spend each week. Researching your preferred student city before you apply is a good idea to see if it is a financially viable option for you.

*Figures taken from a NatWest survey conducted on 2,500 students from 25 popular university cities across the UK

**Cost effective cities are calculated on average income minus average spending