What’s The Average Student Budget Per Month? | Average Student Living Costs

Budgeting can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered.

Going to uni comes with a lot of freedom, for probably the first time ever you’re going to be in complete control of your own finances and your own budget! Budgeting can be tricky to get the hang off, especially as there are lots of things you’ll need to budget for which can be hard to estimate. Luckily, thanks to your student loan you’ll be getting help from the government to help cover the costs of your rent and other living costs.

While rent is the big one that’s going to take up a big chunk of your money, there are also other things you’ll want to allow for such as food shopping, going out, socialising, buying course materials like notebooks and textbooks and grabbing a coffee here and there (and trust us, that does add up!)

Luckily, thanks to our student research (which was conducted in June 2021) we know the average costs of being a student and how much you can expect to be spending per month.

Average student living costs per month

Per Year Per Month
Rent £1,024.22 £85.35
Groceries £806.82 £67.24
Clothing, shoes and accessories £494.24 £41.18
Beauty products £191.22 £15.93
Restaurants and takeaways £465.06 £38.75
Home entertainment £208.81 £17.40
Events and activities (cinema, bowling, concerts etc.) £351.64 £38.75
Tech products £164.82 £13.73
Car or public transport costs £398.53 £33.21
Travel (holidays, visiting family etc.) £169.33 £14.11
Healthcare and pharmacy products £206.88 £17.24
Sports and fitness £183.17 £15.26
Books, study and stationery £222.76 £18.56
Homewares (furnishings and furniture) £104.73 £8.72
Household products (cleaning products etc.) £219.22 £18.26
Other £110.85 £9.23

How much do students spend on non-essential items?


Our results showed that students tend to spend the most money (outside of rent and bills) on grocery shopping, clothes, shoes and takeaways.

Of course, these results are just the average and can vary greatly based on your personal interests! If you don’t drink for example, you’re going to be saving a large chunk of money per month compared to people who like to go out to clubs, but you might spend this money on going to the cinema, bowling or concerts more than the average person. Likewise, someone who’s interested in fashion might spend more money per month on clothes compared to someone who likes to go out to eat more frequently, but isn’t bothered about fashion.

The average annual spend for uni students adds up to £5322.30 per year and £433.53 per month. 49.90% of this is spent on essential items (rent, bills, groceries, household products, transport, medicines etc.) and 50.10% on non-essential items.

On average students spend around £222.21 per month on non-essential items (£2666.47 per year) which could be nights out, takeaways or new clothes. This means that actually, on average students tend to spend more money on things such as going out, drinking, clothes, beauty products, cinema trips and dinners out etc. than on essentials that you have to pay for and can’t live without.

Is the maintenance loan enough?


Your maintenance loan will be based on parental income, location, age and many other factors. The short answer is, while everyone is different there is probably a big chance that your maintenance loan is not going to be able to fund your complete university lifestyle.

While your student loan can go towards the essential items (rent, bills, groceries) etc. many students find that it doesn’t go far enough to cover the other day-to-day living costs of being a student. Being a student is as much as about socialising as it is studying, and while your loan might cover your rent most students will week additional income to help cover the costs of going out and enjoying a social life.

Where can I get extra money from to help cover the costs of being a student?


A lot of students take up part-time jobs to help cover the additional costs of being a student, outside of non-essential spending. Many Students’ Unions will offer part-time jobs to students which are designed to not interfere with your studying and will be more flexible in terms of your schedule, so this could be a good place to start if you’re looking for a job. Student’s Unions tend to be good employers as they are more understanding of the fact that you’re a student and will have other responsibilities such as exams and deadlines.

Other students get part-time jobs in retail, hospitality, supermarkets or in bars and clubs to help provide an additional income. There’s also other ways you can earn money without getting a part-time job or relying on your parents such as selling clothes on Depop or tutoring younger students. Food delivery companies such as Deliveroo are also favourable to students as you can pick up shifts in your own time and you only need a bike (if you don’t have a car) to be able to do it (and a bike won’t cost you anything extra to run).

How can I make my student loan last?


You will get your student loan in three instalments throughout the year, which works out at one each term. This means you’re going to need to make each instalment last an entire term, which can be tricky. Based on our research and your own spending habits and hobbies, make a list of everything you’ll need to pay for on a weekly or monthly basis and roughly how much you’ll need to spend to help you stick to a budget and set yourself a weekly allowance. Some students like to transfer their student loan to a savings account or an external second bank account such as Monzo so that the money isn’t sitting in their everyday bank account. This is a good idea if you think that you’ll be tempted to spend the money all in one go, as you can access the money when you actually need it not just when you want it.

Worried about money and budgeting? Check out our complete guide to student loans, the student loan payment dates and find out more about the average student loan.